Labor is coming – and so are the regulators!
Nothing cooks up a political storm like a Banking Royal Commission with an election following close on its heels.
Following the release of Commissioner Hayne's final report, the battle of the politicians in regulatory enforcement has reached feverish heights.
So, what will it mean for businesses if we do end up with a Labor government? Short answer is: an era of tough (and very public) regulatory enforcement.
So far, Labor has promised:
to implement fully 75 out of the 76 recommendations from the Banking Royal Commission (initially Labor had promised to implement all 76 recommendations before reconsidering the impact of a 'user-pays system' for mortgage brokers);
to require Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) (among others) to develop a Royal Commission implementation plan by 1 August 2019 to submit to Labor's proposed Royal Commission Implementation Taskforce; and
ASIC, APRA, industry bodies and major companies will be required to publicly report to the Royal Commission Implementation Taskforce about their progress in implementing the recommendations in the Royal Commission implementation plan every 6 months.
And to show that Labor is serious about tougher regulation, Labor has already tabled three bills to give effect to five of Commissioner Hayne's recommendations.
As discussed in our previous article, this is not just about the banks!
Now that Commissioner Hayne has asked the regulators "why not litigate?", the trend towards higher numbers of prosecutions and higher penalties for non-compliance across all industries is inevitable (no matter who wins the election!).
If you are in business, or a director or officer of a company, or an advisor to any business (take note accountants, financial planners and business advisors), you should review your legal compliance as soon as possible.
Whether it's Labor or Liberal (or White Walkers) who will win we cannot be sure, but either way, the regulators are definitely coming…