Former federal treasurer Joe Hockey has offered the financial services industry some advice from his personal experience as it heads into the royal commission.
Speaking at the FSC BT Political Breakfast in Sydney yesterday, the current Australian ambassador to the US put a positive spin on the inquiry that he opposed as treasurer, telling the audience of industry executives that they should embrace the experience.
“My best advice to the financial services industry is to view it as an opportunity, not a threat,” Mr Hockey said.
Reflecting on his own experience of appearing before the royal commission into the collapse of HIH Insurance – alongside his former colleague and current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Hockey said he knows firsthand what the exercise will be like for FSC members.
“John Howard was kind enough to specifically refer me, as well as Malcolm … We both came out of it with a clean bill of health but I now know too much about royal commissions and how they operate,” Mr Hockey said.
“Everything depends on the quality of the submissions. I emphasise that. My gratuitous advice is ‘have a good look at yourselves, ask if there is anything [you] can do better and then put it in the submission’.”
The ambassador also described Australia’s financial system as the strongest in the world and said the Australian banking system – despite some “flaws and challenges” – is the world’s most “consumer friendly”.
“But that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems or systemic issues that can’t be addressed,” he added.
Mr Hockey, a former corporate lawyer before entering politics, also praised the government’s appointed royal commissioner, describing former High Court judge Ken Hayne as “very respected”.