Drop hurdle rates or risk missing out

Original article by James Thomson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 7 : 3-Jan-20

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has urged local companies to lower their ‘hurdle rates’ for investment returns to reflect lower rates. His comments regarding lower hurdle rates echo those of federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe. Sims says if firms do not adjust their hurdle rates, Australia will forgo business investment, while overseas companies with more realistic hurdle rates will acquire more local assets. Sims has also urged the corporate sector to back his push for new laws that outlaw unfair business practices.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

JPMorgan helped identify cartel bankers

Original article by Pamela Williams
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 6-Dec-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is taking criminal cartel action against the ANZ Bank, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, as well as six of their executives. The ACCC’s action relates to a $2.5 billion capital raising by ANZ, with the ACCC alleging that bankers from the three companies conspired to restrict the supply of or maintain the price of ANZ shares following the capital raising. Former JP Morgan executive Richard Galvin has told the New South Wales Local Court that he had listened to covert phone recordings to help the ACCC identify bankers on the calls.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, DEUTSCHE BANK AG, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, LOCAL COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES

Facebook faces probe on currency

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 8 : 6-Nov-19

Austrac is among eight Australian financial regulators that will undertake an investigation into plans by social media giant Facebook to launch a cryptocurrency. The regulators are expected to use their formal powers to compel Facebook to disclose details of its proposal for the Libra digital currency. The concerns about Libra are believed to include its potential impact on national security, privacy and financial markets.

CORPORATES
FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN INFORMATION COMMISSIONER

New ACCC case targets Google

Original article by Paul Smith, Yolanda Redrup
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 & 22 : 5-Nov-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is preparing an antitrust case against Google over the collapse of mobile advertising group Unlockd. The ACCC’s case will centre on whether Google’s conduct in relation to Unlockd constituted a breach of section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act, which prohibits the misuse of market power. Google is also the subject of antitrust proceedings in the US.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, UNLOCKD PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, ROKT PTY LTD, FITBIT INCORPORATED

Regionals undercut bigger bank rivals

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 16-Oct-19

Analysis by RateCity shows that some of Australia’s regional banks are currently offering much lower variable home loan interest rates than the ‘big four’ bank. However, Victor German of Macquarie Group notes that existing customers at some of the smaller banks are also paying much higher mortgage interest rates than new customers. The mortgage pricing of smaller banks is among the issues that will be examined by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s new inquiry into the sector.

CORPORATES
RATECITY PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SUNCORP BALANCED PROPERTY FUND, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, MACQUARIE BANK LIMITED – ASX MBL, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, AMP BANK LIMITED, ING BANK (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

ACCC to investigate high cost of low speed NBN plans

Original article by James Fennessy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 19 : 15-Oct-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will undertake an investigation into NBN Co’s wholesale pricing. The focus of the investigation will be on whether NBN has concentrated too much on developing products for those who want high internet access speeds at the expense of consumers who only want low internet speeds. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has warned that a significant section of the community will be excluded from getting an NBN service if its prices increase any further.

CORPORATES
NBN CO LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK

Call for tougher rules for big tech despite shift

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 2 : 10-Oct-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has stressed the continued importance of a strong newspaper industry in the era of digital platforms. He says that although there are signs that technology giants such as Facebook and Google are starting to recognise the need to pay for news content, the ACCC and its overseas counterparts will keep pushing for greater regulation of the sector to ensure a level-playing field for traditional media companies.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA LLC, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AUSTRALIA

Banks face heat over loyalty tax

Original article by Patrick Durkin, James Frost, Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 7-Oct-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has suggested that the nation’s banks are trying to "dud" their loyal customers. Sims, who is hoping Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will grant the ACCC’s request to conduct an inquiry into the competitive strength of the big banks, was commenting on the gap between mortgage interest rates offered to new borrowers and those offered to existing customers; the gap is generally half a percentage point. The banks have argued in private that it is not possible to offer the same competitive rates to all borrowers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, EVANS AND PARTNERS PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED

IOOF no closer to ANZ deal after court win

Original article by Joanna Mather, Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 17 : 23-Sep-19

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has failed in its court case against IOOF Holdings, in which it sought to argue that the financial services company breached its obligation to act in its members’ best interests. It had been the first time in more than 10 years that APRA had taken superannuation trustees to court, with Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot finding that its legal arguments were "unpersuasive". Despite APRA’s lack of success in the case, industry observers say it does not mean that IOOF is guaranteed to complete its takeover of the ANZ Bank’s wealth unit.

CORPORATES
IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ALLENS, ADVISER RATINGS PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD

Wary APRA orders more stress-tests for banks

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 30-Aug-19

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority currently undertakes "stress-testing" of the nation’s banks every three years. However, growing concern about the outlook for the domestic and global economies is believed to have prompted APRA to conduct annual stress tests. APRA’s latest corporate also shows that the performance of superannuation funds will also be a focus for the prudential regulator over the next few years; this will include ranking super funds based on a range of metrics.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY