Finance Sector Union ‘cautious’ on bank royal commission – Sydney Morning Herald
7 months ago Comments Off on Finance Sector Union ‘cautious’ on bank royal commission – Sydney Morning Herald
Royal commission into banks unnecessary: PM
The financial services sector is already highly regulated according to Malcolm Turnbull who says Labor is overreacting to the recent problems. Courtesy ABC News 24.
The union representing finance workers will not endorse Labor’s plan for a royal commission into the industry until there are more details about the proposal, but wants any such inquiry to focus on the pressure on staff to hit sales targets.
Finance Sector Union national secretary Fiona Jordan on Tuesday said she was “cautious” about supporting the royal commission proposal, and wanted to speak with union members more broadly on the issue, and ensure it was not an attack on people who work in banks.
Ms Jordan said the union would not form a position on the proposal without seeing terms of reference – which shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says would be devised if Labor wins the election.
National secretary Fiona Jordan wants an inquiry’s main focus to be on the corporate culture.
“The concerns initially that I’m receiving are that obviously this shouldn’t be an attack on workers in the finance sector,” Ms Jordan told Fairfax Media.
“When it comes to a royal commission, it should be looking at the culture of the corporations and the culture in relation to the sale of products, and the pressure put on employees within the organisation.”
The stance of the FSU contrasts with that of the broader union movement, which on Monday said via the ACTU that a royal commission was “critically important” for restoring trust in the sector.
Banks’ use of sales targets for staff should be scrutinised in any royal commission, the Finance Sector Union says. Photo: James Davies
Ms Jordan stressed the FSU supported holding to account anyone who had behaved unethically, but an inquiry’s main focus should be on corporate culture. This would include a long-standing complaint of the FSU, that banks use a conflicted pay model by tying the payment of bonuses to sales targets for bank staff.
“It’s the corporations that need to make sure that they’re meeting the values of their own culture in the sense of providing the best service and the best products for customers,” Ms Jordan said.
“If there’s going to b a royal commission, we want to see what the terms of reference are, and make sure the focus is on the culture of the companies, not the employees working in these companies.”
The chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on Tuesday also encouraged the government to reverse cuts to the corporate watchdog, after the recent wave of conduct breaches in the finance sector.
Mr Medcraft, whose term as chair of ASIC expires in a month, refused to be drawn into the debate around the royal commission into banking, saying this was a “matter for government.”
Determining the resilience of the financial system was also a “matter for government”, he said. Boosting ASIC’s budget would allow it can undertake more “proactive surveillance”.
“We can’t burn every street corner looking over every shoulder. It’s up to the gatekeepers to take care of their culture so we don’t get the wrong outcomes,” Mr Medcraft said in an ABC radio interview about the impact of $120 million of cuts to ASIC’s budget.
Ms Jordan, who previously spent 18 years working at Westpac, also raised concerns about the funding of regulators. She said she did not know of any FSU member who had ever been “mystery shopped” by a regulator.
“I don’t think any of these regulators have ever had the resources to police these sort of things,” Ms Jordan said.
Of the roughly 400,000 people employed in finance in Australia, the FSU represents 34,000 members, and Ms Jordan said about 15 to 20 per cent of the major banks’ staff were unionised.
Finance Sector Union ‘cautious’ on bank royal commission – Sydney Morning Herald}