Or “The roaring mountain just gave birth to a mouse!”
By now, readers of this blog have heard heaps about the SA Murray-Darling Royal Commission. Now it’s time to hear about its bigger sister, the federal and formidably named Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, whose final report was tabled with great fanfare last Monday, days after its humbler South Australian counterpart.
That’s all the rage among the cognoscenti.
For about a year inhabitants of this Great Southern Land have nightly witnessed dramatic exchanges between counsels assisting the Royal Commission and financial big wigs; we’ve all learned of heart-breaking victims of financial wrongdoing. The drama only reached a climax in the act of delivery of the report, when Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne refused to shake the very visible hand of Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (who just a few days earlier had praised the invisible hand of capitalism).
So, as I like to ask in circumstances like this, what happened? What was done?
The title, borrowed from banking analyst Jon Mott (UBS), seems to be the consensus appraisal of that report’s content and recommendations and answers that question. Now, depending on one’s perspective, that may not have been as bad as it sounds. Say, Mott may have been sorely disappointed, but upon hearing the news financial speculators didn’t seem to share his feelings:
Bank Variation (%)
Not bad, uh?
If one believes the ABC News’ Michael Janda, those in the know had feared that the report would have recommended banning “vertical integration” in the financial sector (where financial advisors most unexpectedly recommend their clients the financial “products” the financial advisors’ employers sell and for whose sales said advisors are paid handsome commissions).
Nada. Zilch. That’s what was done. Thus, the market’s relief.
I know it’s bad form, but I’ll say it just the same: I told you so. From the start that Scott Turnbull/Malcolm Morrison Royal Commission sounded like panem and circenses (more of the latter, less of the former): it was the 4 Big Banks themselves who gave Do-Nothing Malcolm his marching orders, for Christ’s sake! Remember that? They authorised the Royal Commission.
Recently, the ACTU’s Sally McManus just provided further proof of that.
And the thing is that after stubbornly refusing to authorise a royal commission on banking at least 26 times (yes, that’s correct: twenty six times) now Scott Morrison wants to claim credit for a royal commission he didn’t want and made sure will achieve little or nothing.
See what I mean when I say that capitalism may still kill us all, but at least we have plenty entertainment?
Hayne’s failure to tackle bank structure means that in a decade or so another treasurer will have to call another royal commission
By Andrew Linden and Warren Staples. February 5, 2019 6.24am AEDT