A Royal Affair

December is finally here, and so is the royal commission into alleged misconduct by banks, insurers and other financial service entities. It’s going to be a long, hot summer.

Now, you might find yourself asking, what is a royal commission again? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. Unfortunately, a royal commission has nothing to do with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (although we think royal wedding plans would spice it up a little). According to ABC News, a royal commission is a public inquiry governed by an act of parliament. They can be called on any matter “connected with the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth or any public purpose or any power of the Commonwealth”.

This particular royal commission will be investigating misconduct in the financial services sector. That includes all types of dodgy deals from banks like dishonest financial advice, questionable spending of people’s retirement savings and other behaviour that generally “falls below community standards and expectations” (i.e., major wrongdoing).

So who’s paying for it all? That’d be us, the taxpayers – including the little old ladies who’ve already been conned by the banks. It’s a hefty pricetag at $75 million – and that’s just the starting price.

Royal

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According to Insurance News, insurers are saying they’re ready to contribute to the commission. Insurance Council of Australia CEO, Rob Whelan, says the Insurance Council is reviewing the draft terms of reference and will provide input to the Government.

“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,” said Mr Whelan.

The financial services industry plays an important role in the lives of Australians, so there’s a big focus from banks and insurance groups on rebuilding trust and confidence in the sector. The review will be given a year to deliver its financial report, so watch this space for more updates to come.

Words by Skye Jamieson