Cartels cave as ACCC hits three a year

Original article by Ben Butler
The Australian – Page: 17 & 28 : 16-Apr-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims says it plans to run three cartel prosecutions a year for the foreseeable future. He says a memorandum of understanding with the FBI to share information with the ACCC will help it to prosecute criminal cartel behaviour. The ACCC currently has five criminal cartel cases before the courts, covering industries such as banking and construction. Forming a cartel in Australia has only been illegal since 2009, although it has been illegal in the US since 1890.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, AMCOR LIMITED – ASX AMC, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, NYK LINE (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, VISY INDUSTRIES AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LIMITED

Sims wants to hit companies in the share price for misconduct

Original article by Andrew White, Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 19 & 23 : 27-Feb-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has outlined the competition watchdog’s priorities for 2019. They include greater scrutiny of advertising services on digital media platforms, customer loyalty schemes that collect and use data, and consumer protection guarantees for large household items. Sims also says he hopes courts will use consumer penalty laws passed in 2018 to impose fines for corporate misconduct that are sufficient to have a material effect on a company’s share price.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, DEUTSCHE BANK AG, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA

Banks on right track with open banking, says APRA chairman Byres

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 25-Feb-19

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne Byres says the nation’s banks are working hard to meet the schedule for implementing the open banking regime. The first phase of open banking, part of the federal government’s consumer data right program, takes effect on 1 July. Byres told a Senate committee hearing on 21 February that the banks are concerned about greater information security risks as a result of open banking being introduced, as well as the use of derived data, which he says they regard as their intellectual property.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION

Google bid to keep algorithm secret

Original article by David Swan
The Australian – Page: 3 : 22-Feb-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission proposed the creation of an algorithm regulator in the preliminary report on its investigation into the impact that Facebook and Google are having on news and society. Google Australia & New Zealand MD Mel Silva contends that such a body could lead to manipulation and even more fake news, while she says Google should be treated differently to Facebook as it encourages users to visit other sites, whereas Facebook tries to keep people on its platform for as long as possible.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Reforms ‘won’t be easy’, says APRA

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 21 : 14-Feb-19

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne Byres has defended its track record for overseeing the financial services sector, after APRA was criticised by the Hayne royal commission. Byres acknowledges that APRA must be more active in regulating the financial services sector, but he notes the challenges involved. He points out that APRA has a workforce of just 600 to supervise nearly 600 financial services providers, and only about half of its employees have a frontline role.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

APRA holds back on Hayne rebuild

Original article by Ben Butler, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 12-Feb-19

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has stated that it will implement nine of the 10 banking royal commission recommendations concerning it by 2020. However, APRA has not given a timeframe on when it will implement the recommendation to change its prudential focus to concentrate on misconduct. APRA has also stated that an increase in its budget, currently at around $140 million a year, might be needed to implement this recommendation.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, BAKER AND McKENZIE, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

Google rejects check on search algorithms

Original article by Paul Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 & 22 : 29-Jan-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has previously proposed that an external regulator monitor the algorithms used by Google and Facebook. Both companies have expressed concerns about the proposal, with Google Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Mel Silva saying such a move could make its algorithms open to manipulation. The recommendation regarding algorithms was one of a number put forward by the ACCC following its review into digital platforms; Silva says its recommendation to establish a digital platforms ombudsman has merit.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, UNLOCKD PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Overhaul to boost super by $3.8bn

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 10-Jan-19

The Productivity Commission’s final report on its review of the superannuation system will be released on 10 January. It doubles down on the recommendations of an interim report that was released in May. Amongst other things, the PC recommends sweeping changes to the default super regime, including allowing new employees to choose from a list of the 10 best-performing funds. The PC estimates that its recommendations would increase the nation’s retirement savings by about $3.8bn a year. The final report of the financial services royal commission is expected to adopt some of the PC’s recommendations.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Super watchdog failing to bite back

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 13 & 15 : 17-Dec-18

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s proposed changes to the member outcomes test for superannuation funds’ trustees have been criticised by industry bodies. Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees CEO Eva Scheerlinck says the revised standards should have given greater priority to net investment returns, noting that the purpose of the reforms was to address the issue of super funds that consistently underperform. A draft report from the Productivity Commission in June had advocated a much stricter outcomes test.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SUPERANNUATION TRUSTEES, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP SUPERANNUATION LIMITED, NM SUPERANNUATION

Secret federal ICAC slammed

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 14-Dec-18

Labor leader Bill Shorten has criticised the federal government’s proposed national integrity commission, warning that the anti-corruption agency would lack transparency and it would have limited scope and powers. It would comprise a law-enforcement division and a public-sector division, but only the former will be authorised to conduct public hearings. Labor has been calling for an anti-corruption watchdog at federal level since early 2018; Prime Minister Scott Morrison has disclosed that the government has been working on its proposal since January, although it only recently dismissed the need for such an agency.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, NEW SOUTH WALES. INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION