BREAKING APRA has formally commenced an investigation into Westpac and imposed an increase in the bank's capital requirements.
The investigation will examine whether Westpac, its directors and/or its senior managers breached the Banking Act - including the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) - or contravened APRA's prudential standards.
"AUSTRAC's statement of claim in relation to Westpac contains serious allegations that question the prudential standing of Australia's second largest bank," said APRA Deputy Chair Mr John Lonsdale.
"While Westpac is financially sound, there are potentially substantial gaps in risk governance that need to be closed."
APRA will also impose an immediate increase in Westpac's capital requirements of $500 million to reflect the heightened operational risk profile of the bank. That brings the total operational risk capital add-ons that Westpac is required to hold to $1 billion.
"Given the nature of the matters raised by AUSTRAC, the number of alleged breaches and the period of time over which they occurred, this will necessarily be an extensive and potentially lengthy investigation."
Westpac’s settlement with AUSTRAC and its $1.3 billion penalty will play into the process for a shareholder class action against the bank,...