ACCC to target Google and Facebook again

Original article by Aaron Patrick
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 6-Jul-21

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims says a US court’s recent rejection of an antitrust case against Facebook will not deter global regulators from taking further action against digital giants. However, rather than seeking to have companies such as Facebook and Google broken up, the ACCC will use two current inquiries into digital advertising services and digital platform services to try to limit their ability to exploit their market power. Both inquiries are slated to report to the federal government in coming months.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Crown role makes Coonan unfit to lead financial ombudsman: Labor

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 2-Nov-20

Opposition financial services spokesman Stephen Jones claims Helen Coonan’s role as chairman of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority is "untenable". Coonan is also the chairman of casino operator Crown Resorts, which is currently the subject of inquiry by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority. Jones says Coonan should not be head of a body that determines whether financial entities have been acting with probity while at the same time trying to push off allegations that Crown’s casinos have been used for significant money laundering. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says establishing the Authority is a "proud achievement" of the federal government, and that Coonan is a "widely respected" former MP.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY, CROWN RESORTS LIMITED – ASX CWN, NEW SOUTH WALES. INDEPENDENT LIQUOR AND GAMING AUTHORITY

Watchdog probes sabotage claims at Probuild, Watpac

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 28-Oct-20

The Australian Building & Construction Commission has informed a Senate estimates hearing that it is investigating work stoppages at building sites in Sydney. The New South Wales branch of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has cited safety issues as the reason for the industrial action that has targeted Probuild and Watpac. The safety blitz has coincided with the CFMMEU’s push to get the two companies to sign a new enterprise agreement. The proposed pay deal includes annual pay rises of five per cent and revised arrangements for rostered days off.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, PROBUILD PTY LTD, WATPAC LIMITED

Give more help to borrowers: APRA

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 : 23-Sep-20

Repayments on more than 900,000 mortgage and business loans were deferred in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many borrowers are now facing the six-month anniversary of their deferral, and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has offered lenders a number of suggestions about how to handle customers who are slated to resume repayments. Amongst other things, APRA has suggested that lenders should contact borrowers via a number of channels in the lead-up to the expiry of their deferral period. National Australia Bank CEO Ross McEwan recently indicated that 20 per cent of these customers have failed to respond when it has contacted them regarding the issue.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

APRA probes super fund pain

Original article by Gerard Cockburn
The Australian – Page: 16 : 25-Jun-20

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will increase its oversight of the nation’s superannuation funds in response to the coronavirus pandemic. APRA will require super funds to provide it with a range of data on both a monthly and quarterly basis for the duration of the health crisis. Amongst other things, APRA is concerned about the impact of the federal government’s early access scheme is having on super funds, with almost $16bn having been withdrawn to date.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY

AUSTRAC, Westpac head to court

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 9-Jun-20

Westpac and AUSTRAC are having difficulty agreeing on an agreed statement of facts as the two parties prepare to heard for court. AUSTRAC has accepted Westpac’s admission that it broke the law 23 million times, but AUSTRAC has indicated it plans to pursue Westpac for a series of "unquantifiable" breaches. Justice James Allsop said on 30 March that Westpac and AUSTRAC should be ready to go to trial "sooner than later" in a case that may well cost Westpac more than $1 billion to settle.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

APRA to probe super payouts

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 : 1-May-20

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority generally expects superannuation funds to release money under the federal government’s early access scheme within five business days. APRA requires super funds to provide it with a range of data every week regarding the early access regime, and a spokesman says it is prepared to pursue enforceable action against funds that do not pay eligible members within an appropriate time-frame. APRA is collecting both industry-level and fund-level data, which will be publicly disclosed.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY

Greedy banks protect profits: ACCC

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd, David Ross
The Australian – Page: 15 : 28-Apr-20

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has released the interim report of its Home Loan Price Inquiry. It has concluded that the nation’s four major banks failed to pass on the full 75 basis point reduction in the cash rate during 2019 in order to protect their profits. The ACCC also found that existing home loan customers tend to pay higher interest rates than new borrowers. Steve Mickenbecker of Canstar says it is a ‘lethargy tax’ rather than a ‘loyalty tax’, and the onus should be on existing customers to actively request a lower interest rate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, CANSTAR PTY LTD

Cambridge Analytica scandal: Watchdog given green light to pursue Facebook

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: Online : 24-Apr-20

The Federal Court has given the Australian Information & Privacy Commissioner the go-ahead to serve legal documents on Facebook Incorporated and Facebook Ireland. The Information Commissioner is targeting Facebook over claims that the personal data of more than 300,000 Australians was breached as part of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook is facing possible fines of over $1 billion under Australian privacy laws; it has already been fined $5 billion by US regulators.

CORPORATES
FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK IRELAND, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA LLC, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN INFORMATION COMMISSIONER

Bank shareholders face $7bn hit

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 9-Apr-20

Shares in Australia’s major banks retreated on 8 April, after the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority asked them to consider delaying or reducing their dividend payments due to the coronavirus crisis. The Bank of Queensland has already advised that it will defer its interim dividend, while investors in Westpac, National Australia Bank and the ANZ Bank were slated to receive a combined $7bn worth of dividends in May. Commonwealth Bank shareholders recently received their interim dividends.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA