An inquiry into practices by advisers at some of Australia’s largest banks has stopped short of recomending any penalties, despite uncovering practices including levying charges for services on deceased clients.
Investigations ealier this year criticised Australia’s banks for failing to uphold the quality of advice while making significant fees through advising on their own products.
Some commentators called for a formal split between advice and product creation in an advice market dominated by the leading banks in Australia.
Commissioner Kenneth Hayne has said in his report this morning that the scandals should not be pinned on “bad apples”, since “that characterization serves to contain allegations of misconduct and distance the entity from responsibility,” and “would not contribute to rebuilding public trust in the financial advice industry”.
He writes: “The banks have gone to the edge of what is permitted, and too often beyond that limit, in pursuit of profit.”
However, bank shares rallied after the report was released. Hayne acknowledged that misconduct had gone unpunished by the Australian watchdogs, but the report gives no firm recomendations for new regulation or sanctions, Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg notes that many banks are eyeing up sales of their financial planning arms and reviewing fees amid the pressure of the inquiry, however.