Royal Commission holds initial public hearing

Royal Commission holds initial public hearing | Insurance Business

Royal Commission holds initial public hearing

Following a decade of scandals that have rocked the financial services sector, including insurance companies, the Banking Royal Commission will finally hold its first round of public hearings next month.

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was established in December to look into the conduct and any potential criminal misconduct of financial services firms, including all banks, insurers, and superannuation providers. The commission has also been charged to examine the culture and governance within the firms, as well as the adequacy of the overall regulatory and legal framework in which they operate.

Ahead of what is set to be an exhaustive 12 months of public inquiry, Rowena Orr, senior counsel assisting, said “The commission will hear evidence that suggests consumers have not always enjoyed the right to be treated honestly and fairly when it comes to home loans” where “some [cases] may involve breaches of the law, while others may fall short of community standards,” and AAP reported.

Orr revealed that more than 385 submissions had already been lodged by the public – 49% of which relate to banking; 18% to superannuation, 6% to general insurance, and 6% to life insurance and total permanent disability insurance.

Most submissions were from Queensland, with 110; followed by Victoria with 106; NSW, 95; WA, 49; South Australia, 17. The ACT, Northern Territory, and Tasmania each made fewer than 10, the report said.

“Some themes have already emerged,” Orr said. “We have seen a number of submissions about topics such as financial services entities acting on falsified documents, the provision of inappropriate financial advice, inappropriate lending, and delay in processing insurance claims.”

Orr added that so far, 32 notices had been issued to individuals and financial entities to produce documents.

The date of the public hearings will be posted on the commission’s website. An interim report is due by Sept. 30, and the final report by Feb. 1, 2019, the report said.

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