The below is an edited excerpt from a speech by David Murray to The Australian Financial Review Banking and Wealth Summit.
The Campbell Inquiry into the Financial System (1979-81) saw complete deregulation and with it, a lowering of cost and resolution of many anomalies that were detrimental to consumers.
What might be the issues for a further review of the financial system, were Australia to have one in some years’ time? Are we headed back to the deficiencies of a highly regulated system?
Incidents in financial systems are not new. In the 150 years to the GFC, nine crises, crashes or panics have been identified as affecting the US financial markets. The triggers for these incidents varied dramatically from economic downturns, asset bubbles, oil shocks to sub-prime mortgage bundling.
So, we need to consider both macro and micro triggers, in addition to the consequences of the new regulatory structure itself, in three ways.
- Systemic risk
- The influence of the superannuation system
- Regulatory changes
If we’re going to manage the challenges of the future, we have to face up to rectifying some issues in four areas.
First, we have to face up to structural improvements in the economy to limit the economic consequences and financial system risks of a downturn. 27 years is a long time without a downturn.
Next, we have to increase the transparency of our superannuation system ultimately in the interest of the members themselves.
Third, we have to ensure that the consequences of consumer law and its enforcement are working for the benefit of consumers – which is not always the case.
Lastly, we have to rectify the anomaly in responsible lending law that may cause an unneeded contraction in credit.
If we don’t do these things, we will be adding to future systemic risk by heading back to the pre-Campbell days.