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FAR is Back

Friday 17 March 2023

The new accountability regime could apply to your organisation at the end of this year.  

Last year, the financial industry readied itself for guidance on complying with the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR). 

This month the bill has now been reintroduced to parliament for a third time. 
The first time the bill was before parliament, banks could have expected to be the first industry to comply with the regime this July.

 The bill was submitted to the Australian parliament a second time early last September. 

The Treasury opened a consultation submission window between 12 September and 7 October. 

At the second reading of FAR Bill  2022, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Patrick Jones said in his second reading speech, “The bill underscores the government's commitment to finalise the action necessary to fully address the recommendations of the Hayne banking royal commission and implement measures that compel the financial services industry to act in the public's interest.”

The government has now re-committed to FAR for a third time and, when writing this article, has made it to its second reading. 

Minister  Jones said at the second reading of the third bill, “The Financial Accountability Regime Bill 2023 establishes the Financial Accountability Regime, or FAR, which replaces and extends the existing Banking Executive Accountability Regime, following a number of recommendations from the banking royal commission, commonly known as the Hayne royal commission.”
The new regime would apply six months after the bill gets royal assent.

Bright Law David  Jacobson
writes that the bill is expected to be passed by the end of the month. 

No Civil Penalties

In his second reading speech, the assistant Treasurer also stated that the government would not adopt civil penalties for individual accountability failures. 

However, civil penalties are precisely what consumer action groups would like to see in the new accountability regime.

Choice Chief Executive Alan Kirkland said in an official statement, "The Financial Accountability Regime has the potential to be a game-changer for corporate culture in Australia.

Senior executives from the banking, insurance and superannuation industries will have greater personal accountability for misconduct that occurs under their watch.”

However,  CEO Kirkland continued, "CHOICE would like to see this strengthened in the future through the introduction of civil penalties.”