Just 25% of investors are satisfied with the royal commission

James Marlay

Livewire Markets

Just 25% of Livewire readers surveyed earlier this week said that they are happy with the recommendations from the royal commission and expect them to result in positive changes for Australians.  

43% of respondents said they were disappointed, 20% said they were neutral, and 12% expressed a sense of apathy towards the Royal Commission. The survey collected responses from over 700 investors, many of whom are self-directed investors and SMSF Trustees.

Survey participants were also given the option to submit their comments. Based on the results of the survey it should come as no surprise that the criticisms far outweigh the positive commentary. 

This has been an emotional topic of debate, and there are some recurring themes (in the many hundreds of responses received) that I've tried to distil into 6 key points below.

You can also read through the full list of comments at the bottom of this post, as I also feel strongly that the major financial institutions should hear from each one of the frustrated investors that had entrusted them with their capital. 


Key themes 

White collar crimes should be punished 

There was a chorus of investors who felt that perpetrators of alleged “white collar” crime had gotten off lightly. Heavy fines and jail time feature consistently in the comments. 

APRA and ASIC need to lift their games 

The corporate watch dogs were singled out as needing to do a better job. Clearly, investors feel like they haven’t been doing enough to sniff out unethical practices in the financial services industry. 

Sympathy towards mortgage brokers  

There was a very strong view that mortgage brokers are the scapegoats in the whole affair. Admittedly, the resignations of the NAB CEO and Chairman hadn’t occurred at the time of the survey. Nonetheless, it seems people feel strongly about the role of mortgage brokers and feel like changes to their fee structure would reduce competition and result in worse outcomes for consumers. 

Buyer beware! 

At some point, people need to take ownership of their own financial decisions. There are a few comments that call out the need for people to take responsibility for their own affairs. Banks are businesses and provide valuable services – they are entitled to charge for these services. 

Hayne applauded 

The positive commentary was a little hard to come by, however, if you read the list you will note that a number of investors have applauded the way that Hayne handled the royal commission.  

Australian Banks are... “Too big to fail” 

This theme is probably best summed up by the following reader comment. 

"The Bank share price rise says a lot." 

Reader Comments: The full list

"Unless there is court action taken against those responsible, it is very doubtful that lessons will be learnt."

"A longer royal commission was warranted!"

"A Royal Commission into the Banks ... the banks make more money, and other businesses like the brokers get stamped on ... really?"

"Alan Kohler was right...Banks etc. slapped with a wet lettuce."

"All bank boards and CEO's should face criminal charges."

"Although the report is excellent, the likely outcome (just as in the GFC) will be that none of the key players will face the prospect of jail. Just yesterday a local lawyer quoted one of his cases where a single mum of 3 children got 10 months jail for wrongfully claiming $38k from Centrelink."

"Amongst other things the mortgage broker changes are ignorant and show very little understanding and acknowledgement of the good parts of the industries he intends to "improve". With all due respect to Mr Hayne, he would appear to have the same financial markets credentials as a haemorrhoid."

"Any other business that had done this sort of conduct would have been jailed, so should these bankers, CEO's and all board members."

"As in the past if banks and insurance companies are not punished appropriately for illegal behaviour with the senior executives facing jail terms then nothing will change."

"As usual it looks like those responsible for the fiasco walk away without being penalised, except for the mortgage brokers who might find they don't have a viable business anymore."

"ASIC and APRA have not done the jobs they were designed to do, should have done years ago, and should have been hit hard(er) for their failure. Putting another level of surveillance over them is a waste of resources - change their infrastructures and personnel, and ensure that the banks are held to account for manifestly illegal practices!"

"At least when you live in Asia you know what corruption looks like. In Australia its just smoke and mirrors, nothing will change in fact it will probably get worse."

"At the end of this exercise we should all remember that the banks provide millions of people with a free bank account, their funds are safe and always available when required, and funds are transferred quickly and without any error, again for free. Borrowers need to take some responsibility for their decisions. Finally, the banks provide millions of people with a high yielding reliable investment, either directly, or through their super fund."
"Bank and finance ‘executives ‘ exposed for criminal behaviour in the BRC should face criminal prosecution as for any white collar crimes."

"Bank behaviour won't change until someone goes to jail."

"Bank executives are paid too much, and they did not develop the company just maintained it."

"Bank Executives should be made accountable and receive a penalty for banks' behaviours and not just a light touch and hand-gloved pat on the back. Customers should be compensated for all the wrongdoings that have a dire effect to them personally in the past."

"Bankers got away again because they're too big to fail - customers will get hurt."

"Banks called the commission into themselves (writing to the government), so they set the outcome well before the report landed. While I agree with broker commissions going, they were the fall guys. "

"Banks got off lightly. They should have been held more accountable, including the prosecution of executives/directors. "

"Executives/Directors put themselves in respect to their salary outcomes(bonuses, etc.) ahead of their customer outcomes."

"The government (Liberal Party from Howard era) has created this environment for the major four to dominate, negate competition, removal of independent advice and an air of arrogance on their part." 

"Further regulation is required for more competition and a better outcome for the consumer /borrower."

"Banks should be proactive and implement all recommendations themselves."

"Banks will continue to devise ways to maximise profits, over time they will likely be some collateral damage."

"Banning bank STI for boards and/or criminal prosecution will go far in accelerating bank culture changes.

"Boards need to be put under the spotlight more. It's not enough that senior execs are targeted. It's the board that sets the goals. Also, criminal charges need to be laid, you can't just "fall on your sword" walk out with $millions and have your "mate" make you the CEO of another company. People have lost their livelihoods!"

"BRC has not remedied systemic issues so they will repeat over the medium term."

"Brokers were the scapegoat for the banks' failures/greed. Can't help thinking there was a subtle conspiracy between the majors to bring down broking industry, so they could all improve margins on a level playing field
CEO's et al. who draw obscene salaries and bonuses should be punished the same as anyone else who has committed white collar crimes.  Fines, jail, lifetime bans on running companies and kicked out of their professions."
"Changes should be enacted immediately with legislation to follow. Call for NAB Chairman to resign."

"Clearly the only winners from this event has been the Labor Party, with the huge amount of funds sliding across from private super funds to industry super funds, thus increasing electoral funding support to shorto & bobo…..bank bashing, who said it doesn't pay!"

"Concerned less mortgage broker use will lead to less borrowing power and falling property prices."

"Criminal charges strip personal assets time in gaol."

"Criminal offences were committed and people involved, or people in leadership positions that knew or should have known should be punished."

If we had done something a fraction of what these financial institutions have done for years, we would be locked up forever. Depressing"

"Feel cynical now power has shifted from Hayne and co."

"Financial advice and product sales should be separated."

"For the banking executives on absolutely huge money to deceive the Australian public and steal their money, homes and break families - they should be prosecuted for their conscious crimes."

"Forced disaggregation. Or if they're critical to the economy then nationalise them."

"Forwarding possible entities for legal consideration to the present regulators is a JOKE. Like America, some poor middle manager scapegoat will be charged, and the top financial kleptocracy executives will use shareholder money to fund their escapes!"

"Government needs to actually implement the recommendations and fund and police the regulators."

"Hayne miffed on mortgage brokers. He has been suckered into believing the banks will/have changed - where are the refunds for stolen funds and the restitution for the whistleblowers?"

"Hayne's Report botched the structural changes required to bring the regulatory oversight regime into the 21st century."

"Heads should roll, why are high execs above the law?"

"How is a bank expected to know that a customer in West Widgiemooltha has died???  K. Hayne did not give any assistance on this important question which had all the flappy gums going and all the twitterati and thousands of column centimetres of print blasting away. What is the answer?"

"I am pleased the royal commission has tackled commission based fees for financial planners. Commission has left the investor with products that have tended to line the pockets of the financial planner rather than the investor. Indeed it was for this reason that I decided to start my S.M.S.F several years ago. Now the Labor government are proposing to take my imputation credits away. "Not Happy Bill"

"I am surprised the enquiry report did not recommend the axing of investment advice and product manufacture being provided by the one financial group to remove potential conflicts of interest."

"I am very disappointed that the Commission did not take stronger action against the Banks and Bank Management."

"I believe banking remuneration should have been tackled.  These are companies that are in essence essential services and backed by the taxpayer, as in 1991 and 2008, and this makes the taxpayer have an interest and that they are not just 'private' companies who can do as they want.  I read that a former CEO of ANZ walked away with $80 over his term and that about 60% of all profits are paid out to senior management remuneration - too much."
"Vertical integration must go - it is corrupt and fundamental wrong, and I am very disappointed that it has not been touched."

"There appears only a few people who are even contemplating jail???  what about all those hundreds of financial advisors who fraudulently tampered with documents and the many other criminal acts.  There must be a committee to investigate ALL of these crimes, the many thousands of them and anyone who has done wrong not only pays monies back but loses their job, licence, and has a criminal conviction.  Only when this has occurred, and Australia has a spine and stops hiding such white collar crime will this be done with and we can move ahead."

"I would like to see financial literacy taught at all schools and free/cheap sessions in all municipalities to help educate people to protect against financial entities."

"Industry funds were not scrutinised."

"I would like to see the Future Fund opened up to all Australians and not just public servants on cushy defined benefit schemes.  The FF money came from assets ALL Australians owned and I feel morally wrong that now directed only at the overpaid secure defined benefit public servant's pension while we have our franking credits stolen."

"I would like to see every little man who suffered at the hands of 'the system' be compensated."

"All in all a good start but disappointing.  The bankers and all the people who destroyed thousands of hard-working peoples' lives by amoral greed got rewarded - the message was, it was really OK, and I will just give you a big telling off."

"I believe it's wrong removing commissions for brokers, like life insurance commissions in the UK there are some things customers won't want to pay a fee for advice/service for and things will need to be reversed. When you are looking to borrow, paying an extra couple of thousand for broker services is the last thing people would want to pay for. The brokers aren't the problem. The greedy banks are the problem."

"I believe that we, the customers, have been left at the merciless, greedy banks. I believe that the wrongdoers have been left to gloat and carry on. "

"I believe the priority to change behaviour is to change compensation packages. Nothing drives behaviour more than the opportunity to be greedy by exploiting the unexpected opportunities in any commission-based compensation package."

"I don't feel the penalties were strong enough to discourage the behaviour that has been highlighted. I would get more for robbing a 711."

"I only hope some of the worst execs go to prison. They are the ones who should be paying the price for their greedy, crooked acts, not shareholders
I own bank shares, and for that reason, I am happy to see them go up. I do have a big level of distrust of the way big banks are run. I also feel there is a major market disruption to banking coming, which will be the influence for the banks to clean up their act, which the RC will fail to do."

"I own bank shares, but a business is not sustainable in the long term if it keeps ripping off its customers or turns a blind eye to misconduct for the sake of short term profit."

"I Think Ken Henry did a great job."

"I think Mortgage Brokers have been unfairly swept up in the bank's problems."

"I think some recommendations for prosecution should be made
I think that all who were reviewed will make whatever changes are necessary, but I also think that the Government has to remember that the banks are 'commercial' entities and that the review is also going to have outcomes that are detrimental to the economy & growth. As long as all concerned abide by the law I am happy, and as long as APRA & ASIC do their job. If we are looking at another legislator to look over APRA & ASIC, then get rid of APRA & ASIC and have the one body ..... what a waste of taxpayers money."

"I think the RC was limited in its application/scope and a little myopic in focusing too much on the banks and not enough on the superannuation industry as a whole. The Government and the Opposition have to realise that they created and allowed some of this culture to exist and having an RC doesn't wash the blood off their hands."

"Ethics is obviously the biggest factor here, and our Politicians need to lead by example."

"I worry that neither of the two major political parties will have the guts to implement the recommendations.  Perhaps one of the recommendations of The Commission should have been for the populace to vote Independent.
I would have preferred Haines to be more specific about the bankers etc. who had been so unprincipled with community members, and to have pushed for charges against them."

"I would hope that relevant stakeholders will seriously take recommendations on board and make structural & operational changes to ensure this does not happen again as well as trying to win the trust of the community back."

"I'll have faith in the RC when people go to jail."

"I'm disappointed that there does not seem to be sufficient reference to the dreadful commission culture."

"I've never entrusted my investment portfolio to a bank. If I make a mistake, I learn. If the bank makes a mistake I lose ."

"If a criminal act was committed by an individual they should have a black mark next to their name and be thrown to the court system for a meaningful penalty. Also, the general public that presented their cases, a guarantee in compensation should have been made immediately. They will never see it.
If brokers no longer process 60% of home loans, who will?  The banks no longer have the staff capacity and have eliminated sales targets."

"Downstream impact on the property sector will be significant. If I had done what the banks had done, I would be sat in a jail cell.  Fees for no service, charging deceased clients is a criminal act - one law for fat cat bank CEOs another for the rest of us.  Send them to jail. Where’s the justice?"
If any of the "witnesses" had actually been questioned by someone not trying to seek an outcome and with a neutral position then the whole result would have been much different. It was just meant to be sensationalised, and the same results would be reached if we had an RC into any of the major industries in Australia, ie Supermarkets, Fuel, Electricity and many more.."

"In my opinion, the scope of the enquiry should have been made wider to include other sources of loans as well as mortgages through solicitors and SMSF."

"In the given time frame I think the Royal Commission did a sterling job.  What is clear however is that we can never depend on an industry to self regulate.  We had two corporate cops, and their track record has been appalling. There is nothing as yet to suggest that they will lift their game, so why should we be surprised in a decade or two another scandal emerges where the drive for profits overrides good service to the customer."

"Individuals, CEO etc should be held accountable and assets stripped from them similar to proceeds of drug assets are."

"Integrity has generally disappeared, and I lament that."

"Ist item at any AGM is the remuneration report. Shareholders are 2nd class. AND  no more "golden handshakes. Banks et al. are public co.'s not personal fiefdoms"

"It all depends on what ends up in the legislation"

"It has left them off easy !! We need some strong punitive action."

"It is obvious the banks themselves should have learned some lessons here, and now it is up to them to make the necessary changes such as realising they are simply a service provider that needs the be run in an efficient and decent manner."

"The government has no idea about business and is never capable of making any meaningful difference."

"It was pleasing that the Regulators were held to account. In the GFC the asset consultants rated CDO’s as Triple-A paper which facilitated the debt disaster. They were not held to account. The RC recommendations will go a long way to restoring trust. Other areas to investigate - 1) Boards role 2) Rising power of Industry Funds 3) responsible lending."

"It will be difficult to legislate to improve culture and integrity issues - but in the current environment financial services firms that 'stand up' should be embraced by customers."

"It would very much appear that the upshot of all this is somewhat watery, to say the least."

"It's a shame that the banks have become a "political football."

"Its a pity that Andrew Thorburn & Ken Henry seem to have been singled out, I think there were others that could have been named (CBA, AMP, Life Insurance cold callers???)."

"Jailtime is the only real deterrent for those who actively seek to be dishonest when dealing with others money, and responsibility has to move up the tree rather than down!"

"Kick in the rear yes. Good corporate governance and exemplary senior management should be the very basis of a platform going forward."

"Looking to see how it impacts the General Insurance sector and long term duty of care across all sectors and industry."

"Lost opportunity for decent reform: The only person who should pay a planner, insurer or broker is the client."

"Mankind has been driven by greed since Adam was a boy. Unless there are strong disincentives (such as custodial sentences  imposed), no-one is going to change the corporate culture in financial institutions."

"More of the same - nothing will change. Listen to NAB's responses
More vigorous recommendations for criminal prosecutions needed." 

"APRA and ASIC should have had more serious note taken of their lack of action and close parasitical associations with financial institutions. The regulators have been captured by those they should regulate, and political oversight has been appalling, bordering on collusion."
"Mortgage brokers appear to be unfairly treated by the recommendations and will only benefit the big 4 banks."

"Mortgage brokers copped the brunt of the fallout.  Banks slapped over the wrist with a wet lettuce leaf."

"Mortgage brokers have been used as a scapegoat, while banks have been let off with a wrist slap."

"Mortgage brokers have copped it a lot worse than the banks. Banks needed to feel more pain, and hopefully, some criminal charges will be laid. But what guarantees is there that another expensive layer of watchdog regulation will be any different to the current layer?"

"Mortgage brokers thrown under the bus, while the banks get off with a smack on the wrist."

"Much tougher penalties are needed to force culture change."

"My hope is that the government will take strong legislative action and ensure that the regulators have adequate funding to take legal action."

"Naughty boy, don't do it again."


"And your outrageous salary?"

"Nothing to see here."

"Need a clear separation between the Banks and the financial advice/superannuation sector."

"No media ever committed about the bank share devaluation which would have caused all super funds to decline. It was all about bank bashing and Labor and media don’t think about the wider implications or housing prices etc.."

"Labor could have also done a royal commission when they were in office "

"None of above. Unnecessary farce. PC bullshit. Head hurting ignorance.
Not enough actions."

"Not enough has been said about the culture change within the banks that is required. The underperformance of many superannuation funds is unacceptable."

"Not sure anyone can legislate to stamp out greed and corruption in the finance industry.  Repeated efforts to do so have failed for the past 250 years in UK and USA.  Best we can hope for is a few more hurdles for the finance industry to negotiate."

"Not tough enough given the appalling behaviour uncovered and that these businesses are essentially guaranteed not to fail courtesy of the government."

"Nothing is going to change unless there are criminal prosecutions of management & boards. Why should the shareholders wear the blame?
Nothing on verticle integration, brokers and planners, take the fall for the banks."

"Ok now let's stop the franking credits rip off, and capital gains gouge."

"One example... while retaining the vertically integrated financial services business model is right, representatives of those firms should not be able to call themselves Advisers, but instead should call themselves Salesman/woman. What’s in a name? Quite a lot actually."

"One man is making the recommendations. Surely there should have been a full bench!"

"People love to knock the banks. We all own them with our super. It is just a political football for the left -wingers! Love the dividends."

"People need to be balanced when assessing the Royal Commission. It can't change the laws, and it can't prosecute. It can shine a light. It can make recommendations. Within these parameters, the Royal Commission has been a success and has done its job. It's now up to corporations and government to wrestle with the way forward to more openness and lawfulness. "

"Plan dumb move on mortgage brokers. Can understand trail commissions going but upfront fee v upfront commission is dumb. Sure, funders could 'net back' commission entitlement, but few borrowers will have $5K+ to pay an upfront fee. At least the Coalition recognises the need to keep competition and pricing pressure. Labor doesn't get it!"
"Political pressure as elections due in few months and banks contribute huge waste of taxpayers $ we paid the price now we pay more take them to courts civil criminal if a common man had done like this in his business they shut you down or heavy penalties and jail."

"RC leaves the onus on ASIC to police tougher + wider application of best interest duties-these are welcome but unrealistic as ASIC's monitored population is so broad.  Parliament should immediately enact the whistleblower legislation which has been stalled for much too long."

"RC saw that APRA and ASIC aren't much chop."

"Smart of RC not to fall for the trick of making too many new regulations and or rods for backs."

"Better to rely on "buyer beware" than promote false hurtful and silly idea... that ASIC and APRA etc. will be aware for you on your behalf, or even subsequently do much about your misfortunes."

"Really needs to have the people who make the policies of the bank to internally recognise that they should be striving a service to the customer and not maximising their profits."

"Refer to Monday's "Cuffelinks" article for a broader list but glaringly (even if it would have been "disruptive") allowing banks to main vertical integration; to retain fin. Advisers & platforms without a huge risk of long term problems persisting. Yet Mortgage Brokers were slammed (yes they needed changes to the structure) at the risk of crushing broader competition ( & the 20,000 plus working in the industry)."
"Referrals for criminal prosecutions should have been made. Regulator failings were insufficiently highlighted/rectified."
"Regulatory bodies were not doing their job, farmers who expand without consideration implications and sensitivities of drought and commodity prices should not expect special treatment."

"Remove wealth management from banks."

"Retention of vertical integration for Bank Advisers does not change anything. They will still remain self-interested product floggers. This is not professional advice."

"Retirees now conflicted because their living income has come from profits generated by banks managed by incompetent, even corrupt if not ignorant managements who condoned corrupt, extortionate employees and agents.  The corrupt ensured those who should have opposed them, were conflicted and corrupted by them."

"Royal Commission was meant to address wrongdoing by the financial institutions and to compensate consumers who were affected. Similar to 2008 in the US, when nothing changed for the banks and no bank executive went to jail, the Royal Commission is likely to achieve a similar outcome when all is said and done. In the meantime, however, RC deteriorated trust in the financial system, penalised retail, mom & pop shareholders (including the majority of the population holding banks through super & ETFs) and contributed to restricting the flow of credit."

"Sack all the CEO's and start afresh with honest people. "

"Seems that it missed the point. Banks are allowed to create money - they need far greater control to avoid market instability."

"Should improve culture but will create higher costs to all companies affected, i.e. lower profits."

"Should make a short term improvement but old habits will resume eventually."

"Since employees in the banking sector actually broke many laws those responsible should be prosecuted and jailed as a message to those that follow and may consider "more of the same"."

"Some of the commission's views were naive: I suggest that most large businesses in AUS & NZ operate in identical ways."

"Some of these executives need jail time for white collar fraud.  And any suggestion that shareholders should pay for their defence should be squashed at the very start of proceedings.  they should pay their legal costs out of their bonuses."

"Someone should have gone to jail. In the GFC all the US bankers got off scot-free even though they put the world in financial crisis. they all have too much influence on politicians."

"Specifically with banking, ex-PM Paul Keating should wear some of the responsibility. Remember when he deregulated the banking industry, allowing foreign banks into the country. There were something like 30 new banks, many global behemoths in their own right. The Australian banks then felt they had to better market their products and services (and, indeed expand their product range) to defend their market share. Then fast forward to the evolution of risk-weighted assets (one of the Basels).  If sections of a banks assets (the loan book) were showing glimpses of underperformance, then the RBA determined more risk-weighted assets had to be allocated to support these assets. This meant that the assets were more costly for the bank to hold ... this lead to the concept of "pricing for risk" which sent the struggling borrower's interest rates up, out of cycle - when they could least afford it. Then you have the issue of mortgage brokers - the 'on the shop front bank managers' fought against this, citing the real risk of declining credit standards. Their concerns were given scant regard by bank middle and senior management. Mortgage brokers developed a strategy of working out which financiers to place marginal loan applications with, in addition to 'making a silk purse out of a sow's ear'. 
Call it 20/20 hindsight, but, as an example,  Hirsty at Westbury in Tassie probably would not have had the same path. Still think the banks will somehow bypass all these proposed changes and be sitting pretty much the same after the dust settles. We looe again."

"Stronger penalties for wronging the Australian people."

"Technology will disrupt the industry more than this - the challenge is to have an RC into the future of fin industry."

"That judge Kenneth Hayne is certainly a very obliging fellow. He gave the Liberal Party and the Banks exactly what they wanted. He dumped all the blame onto the Mortgage Brokers while the Liberal Party politicians and the bankers are laughing all the way to the bank. (pun intended)"

"There is nothing about redress for the thousands of victims of abuse. Peter Switzer and many other commentators suggested a necessary outcome of the RC would be to establish a Financial Services Complaints Tribunal where victims could present their claims to a Magistrate without needing a lawyer. The magistrate would have the power to make binding decisions and award financial penalties and compensation to victims. But this was not even mentioned in the Report. Victims could get quick redress and compensate appropriately. Banks would be forced to comply."

"Andrew Thorburn and Ken Henry were named and shamed in the Report, apparently for robustly defending themselves. Meanwhile, nothing was said about Ian Narev and Matt Comyn over at CBA whose sins were much more egregious. It seems the RC was used to shift obstacles out of the way at NAB so that Liberal mate Mike Baird could step into the top job."

Most outrageous of all is the Report dumping on the mortgage brokers. The bankers must be rubbing their hands with glee. They won't have to pay commissions to brokers, and they can strengthen their oligopoly power over the mortgage industry. A big windfall for the banks. Competition will be greatly reduced and this cannot be good for people seeking a mortgage. Most people need help navigating the mortgage market and preparing all the necessary paperwork. Brokers provide an important service and deserve to be paid appropriately for their services. It is only right that the lender should pay this fee as a trailing commission which spreads the fee over the life of the loan easing the pain. The RC proposal of an upfront fee is obscene. $4,000 approximately is a big hit upfront and scary for a borrower. Why not admit the fee upfront but spread it over the life of the loan? The borrower then knows what is being charged for service but is not being hit in one big whack. The fee could be the same just pro-rata over the length of the loan. So the length of the loan is not an issue."

"It seems this RC was a very expensive opportunity lost. But it was probably planned to be a flim flam whitewash anyway. The Royal Commission you have when you don't want a Royal Commission. It is a shame that Kenneth Hayne has trashed his reputation with this heavily biased report."

"That NAB representatives treated the Royal Commission with disdain demonstrates the need for cultural change and to achieve that there must be people change at the top."

"The Bank share price rise says a lot."

"The banking industry is a giant bloated leech feasting on the economic system. It is full of self-serving overpaid unproductive employees. Most of them could be removed without adversely affecting the useful job banks do in providing credit."

"The banks and insurance companies need to be made much more transparent. This will only come about by enforced legislation. Some of the self-defined exclusions of insurance companies are unbelievable. Definition of "Heart Attack" Flood etc. is clearly not something they can define by themselves.  The burden of legislation compliance can only be blamed on themselves. Ethically they have a proven record of being incapable of dealing with consumers in a fair and reasonable way.

"The banks and their executives got off lightly, the terms of reference were far too narrow - no structural investigation."

"The banks appear to have been the worst culprits and received no binding structural changes to improve their behaviour or accountability."

"The failings of the regulators were also not addressed with specific resolutions that actually improve their responsibilities."

"The banks have foreclosed on far too many people who did not deserve to lose their homes or farms or businesses. The RC report should have included far stronger requirements for an independent assessment of people aggrieved by such forced sales of their assets and the banks should have been forced to put billions - not $30 million - into a trust fund to fully compensate these people."

"The Banks have got away with it, again!"

"The big banks enjoy a very privileged position in the Australian financial system and came out of the GST in a stronger position than smaller competitors thanks to piss weak government action. Swan and Rudd should have left the weakest one go bust to show them who was in charge, but weren't prepared to let the economy go into recession on their watch. 

"The commission should have addressed: product pricing, fee-based financial advice (instead of cross subsidised advice guiding investors to the banks' own products), a better structure for paying mortgage broker should have been recommended that encouraged competition without trailing commissions etc."

"The power of Industry Super Funds and their link to unions which should have been curtailed, charging fees to dead peoples' estates which is legitimate for executors and their advisors and should have been better addressed, improving consumers' financial literacy (start in schools)."

The commission was totally negative. If you only look for problems, that’s all you find. It’s a shame we weren’t able to submit positive, helpful examples of bank behaviour! Also, it seems that banks charging fees for anything is no longer acceptable. How exactly is a business expected to survive without charging for its services? Yes, there were instances of unacceptable practices and systemic issues, but they were sensationalised. As for charging dead people, deceased estates often accrue fees until settlement when they are refunded. That was sensational rubbish! The biggest revelations were people not taking responsibility for their own actions, mortgage broker fraud and the total failure of publicly funded regulators."

"The corporations are just that; corporations. Individuals are what make a corporation and individuals should be held accountable with stiff and even criminal penalties!!"

"The culture and practices in financial services will not change until all conflicted remuneration is eliminated."

"The final report and recommendations fail to address many issues that were highlighted in the Royal Commission. The outcome of this would appear to strengthen the position of the major banks while introducing more bureaucratic overview." 

"Overall a very disappointing outcome."

"The financial services royal commission while it has done much to expose the systemic illegal behaviour of the big banks and the major insurers. It fails to get to the root cause of the problem........ poor supervision and poor legislation."

"The major banks only want customers online or at an ATM out the front."

"The naming of those to face charges would be a sensible way to show the start of the process for criminal behaviour."

"The mortgage brokers should have fees paid by a direct amount, rather than a trailing commission."

"In super, that the default list shows the return next to the company for the no-frills account."

"The immediate stripping of grandfathered clause from all super accounts."

"That boards have the skill set listed for the job, and that selection of applicants be transparent according to that criteria."

"The oligopoly needs to end in the banking industry."

"The problem is due to remuneration structure. The bonus calculation should exclude all disputed and unethical incomes. Bonus should be paid as company shares escrowed for 12 ~ 18 months and not as cash."

"The RC outcome has not delivered the powerful enough result.  It seems that it was just a scare campaign, big waste of time and public money."
"The RC was a toothless tiger, a slap on the wrist at best.  Unfortunately, they have also ill-considered the consequences.  Mortgage brokers will now charge customers direct.  Credit will be harder to get.  Housing will slump.  I will lose substantially on my house that I’m currently selling and getting an interim loan to buy another property will now be harder.  Add that to the Labour policy changes for shares and negative gearing. I’m set to lose $50-100,000 on this year alone.  Not happy."

"The recommendation that the payment of commissions by banks to mortgage brokers be stopped will decimate the sector for no good reason. It will reduce competition, and without a doubt hand increased power to the big banks. If mortgage brokers have to look to their clients to pay them fees, then real estate agents and life insurance reps should be required to obtain their commissions from the buyers (same principle)."

"The regulatory authorities must use the powers they have to enforce ethical behaviour and to punish offenders. That includes bans and gaol time, not weak slaps on the wrist. The government (whoever will be in office) must give the regulators the resources and powers necessary to carry out their functions."

"The responsible executives should be charged with a criminal offence &led in & out of Court in chains---as they do with white collar criminals in the United States. This would send a VERY powerful message to ALL executives."

"The Royal Commission has had the opposite effect of it's ultimate mission.  Taking out mortgage brokers is tantamount to a handing the Big Four a golden ticket.  Expect reduced competition, higher interest rates and excessive bank charges. Another big win for the banks and a resounding loss for the consumer."

"The royal commission was a complete waste of money in that it did nothing to address the real issue which was the complete failure of ASIC to do its job."

"Theft requires criminal prosecution. Nothing unknown was revealed, and a weak response recommendations just means the greed and unethical behaviour will  return just as it has after previous enquiries."

"There is a difference between illegal and immoral behaviour - a point lost on politicians. Most of the shock horror was about corrupt or biased dealings."

"ASIC / APRA should have picked up illegal behaviour already - 100 demerit point to them!"

"There seems to be no mention of the regulators and their cosy relationship with the financial institutions."

"There should be criminal charges launched on the people responsible for this misbehaviour."

"There should be more structural changes to the finance industry to reduce conflicts of interest. There should also be more criminal penalties for personal misconduct among staff in the finance industry. There should be calls for much larger civil penalties for corporate misconduct. There should have been many more calls for bad actors to be kicked out of the finance industry, especially from within the regulatory authorities."

"There should be some sensible cap on directors' remuneration[ salary] say 30 times Average weekly earnings, with severe clawback provisions for poor leadership exposed post-resignation."

"They will be disrupted by digital-only banking competitors."

"This is white collar crime, fraud, at it's most extreme. Banking executives need to be charged and serve time in jail."

"This poor banking culture has been present since PM Keating's recession we had to have.  With a new business, and naive, we respected the bank's decision to place some funds in a term deposit at say 10% and take out an overdraft the rates, of course, increasing to 21.75%.  How rich was that??  We walked away 7 yrs later with what we'd put into the business, fortunately.  Not like the farmers who have been sold out for pennies, absolutely disgusting behaviour.  I'm happy only because we still hold bank shares! "

"This was equivalent to a slap on the wrists for murder. As with most Australian investors, I am overweight in my exposure to the banks, and my portfolio has increased, but it doesn't make this right. Making Australia better is the goal, not sweeping these under the carpet for a future generation."

"This was inevitable, given the prices paid in the bank-assurance race, high sales results were going to be needed to make a return on the capital outlay.  Anyone who's worked for banks would have known they don't have the numbers of individuals with the required academic and professional capacity to hit those levels and still meant a best interest duty out in branch land.  Boards had to know this, which means they supported the high-pressure sales strategy required to maintain vertical integration and fees embedded in their own manufactured products. Why have the media not explored David Murray's role in starting the whole shebang with the CBA purchase of CFS.  He's now presided over AMP reversing the same strategy."
"This was supposed to be a Royal Commission on Banks, yet they got away with everything & hence bank shares had a huge day. I feel sorry for the mortgage Brokers who were very unfairly treated. Without brokers, the banks will do as they like with rates, and the poor public will end up paying more. I cannot believe the ACCC will allow this to go through without making sure that the banks & brokers are on the same playing field. "

"Those that made and/or condoned the actions subject to the recommendations contained in the report need to actually be held accountable. Imposing penalties and paying compensation while a necessary outcome on the companies are ultimately paid for by the customers and shareholders and are not enough. Directors and management need to be held directly held accountable."

"Thought most of the recommendations were sensible. Bit surprised with how they view mortgage brokers. I personally have never viewed them as recommending a financial product, but simply getting the best/most suitable version of that product (people already want a mortgage when they go to see a broker). Seems as if they have been thrown in with financial planners who have created adverse customer outcomes through providing inappropriate products in order to get commissions. I believe if they had a default industry-wide commission rate that would ensure brokers deliver the best customer outcomes."

"Too big to fail!"

"Too many people who don't understand financial markets, whining and complaining, right through to people who plead with the banks to lend them money, and then don't want to pay it back."

"Too much negative emotions about mortgage brokers' commissions. Financial advisers and accountants had to change, and they didn't disappear. Purple Bricks accept fixed fees and not commissions, and they're still operating. It will be fairer because commissions are paid on size of loans. Now fees can reflect the amount of work to be done, and brokers will have to show it's value for money as others do. Nothing is given for nothing and the public need to realise this."

"Tough break for Brokers. Surely a mandated commission structure across the board can remove the conflict of interest without destroying an industry."

"Traditional banking both retail and business seems less affected by the culture exposed in the Royal Commission which has arisen from the acquisitions of wealth management, insurance from the likes of Colonial Mutual and previously mortgages business from the building societies. It is impossible to turn back the clock, but hopefully, control of these highly profitable activities will allow us to keep a strong and trustworthy banking sector."

"Trailing commissions of all types should be banned."

"Understand the importance of the royal commission, however, am very concerned that there was no material impact to the leaders for such events that would be deemed criminal in the corporate world.  If this happened in the private world, they would be jailed. If a bank staff has been conducting fraudulent activities, they would be arrested and jailed.  I think the leaders got off very lightly!"
"Until charges are laid at the individual level for blatant misconduct, I do not expect anything to change.  Thorburn's arrogance in the face of such a damning report would seem to confirm this.  Charges should be laid at an individual level otherwise it's the shareholder who pays."

"Was a non-event."

"Waste of time and money."

"We need strong banks, and they must make money just like any other business."

"Well overdue. Thanks  for the hopeless government for delaying it for so long."

"While I believe the government and the RC have been unfairly harsh on the banks, I don't believe that the executive leadership of the banks was justly penalised for their years of wrongdoing. There should have been harsher penalties for the executive levels of the banks and people should have been directly held responsible."

"Why was vertical integration, which is the most evil part of the financial services industry in Australia, not eliminated?"

"Without significant jail times for the main offenders, the same greed and poor business practice will return. Bank executives and boards are still rewarded with massive salaries and bonuses - no major punishment for their roles and failures."

"YES, and another Royal Commission and another beach house for all the legal fraternity involved and paid for by the taxpayer, what a crock!"
"You could have a Royal Commission into many other areas and get similar results, eg, oil companies." 

"Time to move on."

1 topic

James Marlay
Co Founder
Livewire Markets

Livewire is Australia’s #1 website for expert investment analysis. We work with leading investment professionals to deliver curated content that helps investors make confident and informed decisions. Safe investing and thanks for reading Livewire.


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