Banking News

Wayne Byres reappointed APRA chief until 2023

Wayne Byres reappointed APRA chief until 2023

(5 November 2018 - Australia)  The Australian government has extended Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Chairman Wayne Byres tenure for a further five years and increased funding by A$60 million.

Mr Byres was appointed in July 2014 by the Abbott government and his current term is not due to expire until July 2019. The additional funding will be dispersed over four years and applied to core operational responsibilities, including the identification of new and emerging risk areas such as cybersecurity and Fintech. The new capital funding will also be used to fund APRA's review of its enforcement strategy and better use of enforcement powers. The funding will be used to improve data collection so it can co-operate better with other agencies, and to employ extra supervisors.

The prudential regulator is reviewing its own performance in the wake of criticism by the banking royal commission, with Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stating that Mr Byres' early reappointment was "important for stability during this time of reform in Australia's financial system. In addition to pursuing a broad agenda to build resilience across the industries it supervises, APRA has been undertaking careful and targeted interventions in the housing market and implementing the new Banking Executive Accountability Regime [BEAR]". Mr Frydenberg's announcement is designed to precede the royal commission final report due 1 February 2019. The government has boosted ASIC's funding by A$70 million but this follows almost A$200 million in cuts since the Coalition came to power in 2013. Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne said there was no point introducing new laws against misconduct when the current ones were not being enforced. "The conduct regulator, ASIC, rarely went to court to seek public denunciation of and punishment for misconduct. The prudential regulator, APRA, never went to court.”

Mr Byres said “Remuneration and incentives at financial institutions would face further scrutiny. Being a prudential regulator, we have traditionally focused on the potential for poor incentives to impact on the long-term financial soundness of the financial institution. The commission has suggested a broader examination of the issue is needed, and APRA and ASIC will need to work together on how that can best be done without exacerbating existing concerns that responsibilities between the two agencies are becoming blurred."

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