For nine months a quasi-judicial public inquiry into Australia’s financial system has heard allegations of bribery, fraud, board-level cover-up, abuse of power and the charging of fees for no service.
As the inquiry nears its end, the following is a timeline of milestones since it was announced by Australia’s government in November 2017.
Nov. 30, 2017 – After years resisting, the center-right government bows to public pressure and calls for a Royal Commission into banks, investment funds, financial advisers and insurers.
Feb. 12, 2018 – Hearings begin. The lawyer leading the questioning, Rowena Orr, later gets the nickname #ShockandOrr on social media.
March 13 – National Australia Bank admits a referral program to sell home loans involved collusion, fraud and bribes. The bank says bonuses encouraged staff to engage in fraud.
April 16 – Wealth manager AMP accused of board-level deception of the regulator over fees for no service. “This is shocking,” Australia’s treasurer says.
April 19 – Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) says it withdrew money from dead people’s accounts as supposed advisory fees.
April 20 – AMP’s CEO steps down as shares tumble.
April 26 – Hearings are interrupted when a witness, the head of Dover Financial, Terry McMaster, collapses in the witness box. He is rushed off in a stretcher.
April 27 – Corporate regulator says it has not used its full punitive powers to tackle financial misconduct.
April 30 – AMP chair resigns. First shareholder class action lawsuit filed against AMP.
June 4 – Outside the inquiry, CBA agrees to a record A$700 million penalty to settle money-laundering charges dating back to 2017.
June 5 – Also outside the inquiry, prosecutors charge former local bosses of Citigroup Inc and Deutsche Bank AG with “criminal cartel offenses” over a A$2.5 billion stock issue for ANZ, the country’s biggest case of alleged white-collar crime.
June 24 – National Australia Bank says it will stop penalizing farmers for loan defaults in droughts amid a record dry spell in parts of the nation.
Sept. 11 – The inquiry hears how Freedom Insurance Group Ltd called a man with Down Syndrome and convinced him to buy an insurance policy although he did not understand what he was doing.
Sept. 21 – The inquiry hears some of the country’s largest insurers may have broken laws which carry criminal penalties.
Oct. 31 – Australia and New Zealand Banking Group reports second-half profit is down 13 percent due to the cost of compensating customers hurt by misconduct.
Nov. 28 – AMP gives an updated cost of paying back wronged customers: A$778 million.
Nov. 30 – Final hearing day.
Feb. 1, 2019 – Government to receive final report.
(Reporting by Paulina Duran; editing by Byron Kaye and Stephen Coates)
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