The Australian Bankers’ Association has amended the wording of one of the six initiatives being implemented to rebuild confidence in the banking sector, according to independent reviewer Ian McPhee.
In his fourth report into the progress of the banking sector in implementing these initiatives, Mr McPhee noted that the implementation timeframes for initiatives two, four, five and six have been updated “to address new information, issues arising from the development of particular measures or external review recommendations”.
Mr McPhee said many of the updated timeframes also reflected the reliance of that initiative on a “statutory underpinning” and involvement from third parties, which limited the ABA’s capacity to control the implementation timeline, reflecting comments made in his third report.
“In addition to these revisions, the ABA has also amended the objective for Initiative 4,” Mr McPhee said.
Initiative 4, “removing individuals from the industry for poor conduct”, initially proposed in its objective to “implement an industry register to identify poor conduct”, however the updated text reads that the sector will introduce “an industry-wide register or mechanism”.
“I have sought and received assurances from the ABA that this amendment is not intended to diminish the original intention of this initiative, and that the industry remains committed to pursuing the establishment of a register, recognising this will require support through some form of statutory underpinning,” Mr McPhee said.
“In the interim, the Conduct Background Check Protocol is intended to provide a solution applicable to bank employees, but not more broadly across the financial services industry.”
Overall however, Mr McPhee said that “participant banks continue to make good progress” implementing the initiatives while remaining alert to changes in the political and regulatory environment, and were aware of the amount of work still to be completed.
“Real progress is evident in the development of the various measures and in the attitudes of individual banks in progressing changes in bank policies and approaches,” he said.