Executive accountability: Grin and BEAR it

  • By Andrew Starke

Treasury has called for comment on the proposed Banking Executive Accountability Regime after the Thursday release of a consultation paper, which outlines key features of the BEAR and an approach for its implementation.

This follows the budget announcement in May that the government would introduce a package of reforms, including legislating to ensure banks and their most senior executives and directors are accountable for meeting heightened standards of behaviour.

According to Treasury, the BEAR will provide greater clarity regarding their responsibilities and impose on them heightened expectations of behaviour in line with community expectations.

“Where banks and their senior executives and directors do not meet expectations, APRA will be empowered to more easily remove or disqualify individuals, ensure banks’ remuneration policies result in financial consequences for individuals, and impose substantial fines on banks,” Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, said in a statement.

“The government has sought to draw on elements of a similar system of accountability that is already in play in the UK. While we recognise that consistency is helpful, not all elements will be suitable for the Australian banking sector.”

The UK’s Senior Managers Regime is referenced in the 24-page consultation paper as is Hong Kong’s Managers-in-Charge measure.

Submissions are due by August 3 and can be sent to bear@treasury.gov.au. The government encourages all interested parties to make a submission.

The consultation paper is available by clicking here.