The ACCC has established a Financial Services Competition Branch, which it says will provide support for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions’ prosecution of ANZ, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and six senior officers.
The unit, enabled by an allocation from the government’s mid-year budget, falls under the ACCC’s new Compliance and Enforcement Policy and includes a permanent competition investigation team.
The competition regulator expects its team to complete a number of investigations that could result in court proceedings.
The announcement made by ACCC chair Rod Sims during his address to the Committee for Economic Development Australia comes on the back of AMP executives facing potential criminal charges, in a case against ASIC over charging fees for no service.
“In commenting on regulators, the final report of the financial services royal commission focused on issues that were of primary concern to ASIC and APRA,” Mr Sims said.
“However, an underlying theme of the royal commission final report was that competition is not vigorous among the major banks or in some parts of the financial sector.”
The watchdog is also writing rules for the Consumer Data Right system, known as ‘open banking’, which will determine how banks must operate under the scheme.
The ACCC’s work will also focus on foreign exchange fees remaining high, Mr Sims added.
The ACCC said the finance competition investigation team will complement a market studies unit that focuses on the financial sector, which has been in place for a year.
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