National

Bankers don’t like planned new rules: APRA

By AAP Newswire

Australia's top banking executives have found plenty to seriously dislike about a watchdog's proposed new integrity rules, but the ambitious plan is going ahead anyway.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne Byres says he is committed to transforming the troubled financial sector, which copped a smashing at the banking royal commission.

APRA wants to delay executives' bonuses for up to seven years and give companies four years to recover money they paid to executives.

"Unsurprisingly, our proposals have not been warmly welcomed," Mr Byres told the Australian Banking Association in Sydney on Wednesday.

"Various stakeholders - managers, directors, investors, shareholders - have each found something to seriously dislike. We have had no shortage of feedback."

But Mr Byres says Australians expect change.

"My challenge to those engaging in the debate is to provide us with an alternative to our proposals that isn't just the status quo, because outcomes from the status quo have been found unacceptable," he said.

"I have to admit we chose the word 'transform' deliberately but with some trepidation. Transform obviously means more than just improvements at the margin.

"It implies ambition, and means significant change. We are setting out to make a real difference."

He wants companies to make annual declarations about their governance, culture, remuneration and accountability, similar to declarations about risk management.

"However, we don't think declarations and self-assessments themselves will be sufficient: as they say, trust but verify," he said.

The team checking whether companies are meeting the new requirements will also be increased from single digits to at least 20 staff members.

"We're aided by the fact that, in many areas, the industry is seeking to change itself," Mr Byres said.

"But what the Australian community wants to see is that improvements in governance, culture, remuneration and accountability are not a short-term fad, dismissed once the spotlight swings elsewhere."

Consultation on the new rules will close on October 23, with the final standard released by the end of 2019 and take effect in 2021.