Australian inquiry’s results could influence China, Hong Kong

Active regulators to pick up on investigation’s outcome and absorb best practices

Australian inquiry’s results could influence China, Hong Kong

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The results of the investigations conducted by Australia’s Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, could influence the insurance regulators of Hong Kong and mainland China, according to an insurance law expert.

The royal commission was formed in 2017 to inquire into several alleged wrongdoings in Australia’s financial industry. The investigations have uncovered several controversies, such as spying, overcharging, and misleading customers, with insurers possibly facing criminal charges.

According to Kevin Martin, partner at international law firm Clyde & Co, the regulators of Hong Kong and mainland China are actively keeping up-to-date with best practices and industry issues, in the region and globally.

“We do not expect that there will be a similar exercise conducted in Hong Kong or China,” he said. “It is more likely that the local regulators will consider these sorts of issues/findings, when setting and applying their own guidelines in their home jurisdictions, both of which are undergoing fundamental changes, and seek to increase customer protection and good governance.”

Martin said that the Hong Kong Insurance Authority’s main priority is to carry out moves to protect customers, while being flexible to adapt to new business models and technologies, and taking into account the international nature of the industry and consumers, given Hong Kong’s status as a regional financial and innovation hub.

Meanwhile, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, which has been active in penalising erring firms, should build on the recent developments and allow more international competition, providing greater choice to consumers, he said. These will help the mainland to mature into a stable and responsive market.

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