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Industry prepares to front royal commission

Insurers say they’re ready to contribute to a royal commission into alleged misconduct by banks and other financial services entities.

“Though the calls for a formal inquiry have focused on the banks, the Insurance Council of Australia hopes the royal commission will end political uncertainty and improve public confidence in the insurance sector,” CEO Rob Whelan said.

“The Insurance Council is reviewing the draft terms of reference and will provide input to the Government.”

As reported in a Breaking News bulletin last week, the royal commission will consider the conduct of banks, insurers, financial services providers and superannuation funds, excluding self-managed funds.

“The Government has decided to establish this royal commission to further ensure our financial system is working efficiently and effectively,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

“Instead of the inquisition into capitalism that some have called for, the royal commission will take a conventional, focused approach.”

Draft terms of reference include how well equipped regulators are to identify and address misconduct, forms of industry self-regulation and whether practices and behaviours meet community standards and expectations.

“The commission should give priority to matters that, in its opinion, have greater potential for harm if not addressed expeditiously,” the draft says.

The Government, which is yet to appoint a former or serving judicial officer to lead the inquiry, says the review will be given a year to deliver its final report.

IAG CEO Peter Harmer says the financial services industry plays an important role in the lives of Australians.

“We understand the level of concern around culture and conduct,” he said. “We support the action the Government is now taking to rebuild trust and confidence in the sector through the royal commission.”

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