Big Banks Face More Scrutiny as Australia Regulator Embeds Staff

(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s securities regulator will embed supervisors in the big-four banks in a push to get tough on corporate misbehavior after a string of scandals.

Australian Securities & Investments Commission staff will be placed inside Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp., National Australia Bank Ltd., Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and embattled wealth manager AMP Ltd.

The banks “need to know that if they do the wrong thing we’ll come down on them like a ton of bricks,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a radio interview Tuesday.

ASIC will get an additional A$70 million ($52 million) in funding to beef up its oversight, he said.

The changes are needed because even though “there are already people within the banks who report directly to the board, but what happens if the board doesn’t listen to them?” Morrison said.

The big four banks and AMP have borne the brunt of the reputational damage from an inquiry into misconduct in the financial sector, which has heard allegations ranging from lying to the regulator, falsifying documents and extracting fees from customers long since dead.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.