BEAR regime ‘strengthens’ APRA: chairman

BEAR regime ‘strengthens’ APRA: chairman

The objectives of the federal government’s Banking Executive Accountability Regime reforms are in line with APRA’s mandate, says the chairman of the prudential regulator.

In the opening statement before the House of Representatives standing committee yesterday, APRA chairman Wayne Byres said the “core objective” of BEAR to establish more accountability of senior banking executives was happening in a way that was “consistent” with APRA’s mandate.

“While there are a range of new elements in the proposed reforms, the BEAR should essentially be seen as a strengthening of the existing prudential framework,” Mr Byres said.

After the framework was put in place for banks, he also said the regulator would consider some of the regime’s concepts for “wider application”.

“To the extent that they can add to community trust and confidence that all prudentially-regulated institutions are well-governed and prudently managed, then they might have significant benefit more broadly,” he said.

In his opening statement, he also said “this issue of community trust and confidence” was “an important consideration” for APRA’s inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), which had experienced reputational damage in “recent years”.

“Our inquiry provides the opportunity for the CBA to demonstrate that it has and will take these issues seriously, and is responding to them,” Mr Byres said.

“Where action is not deemed sufficient, the inquiry will make clear recommendations for the CBA to implement.

“Our decision to make the inquiry reports public provides an opportunity for the broader community to understand what common themes may have been behind these incidents, and provide assurance that they have been identified and will be addressed.

“In that sense, we very much see the inquiry as making a constructive contribution to strengthening the reputation and public standing of the bank.”

Any issues emerging from the inquiry would also prove to be “useful learnings to others in the industry”, he said.

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