Update from FSC CEO Sally Loane - It was a year where the roadmap for the Royal Commission recommendations, multiple regulatory reports, new laws and a brand new super heatmap took us into unchartered waters.
Where green shoots of growth in parts of financial services – like advice – were all but choked by a web of new laws and regulations; and a new global comparison report on life insurance found that Australia’s system is not only the most complex, but the most generous – we supported positive reforms and achieved some wins.
There was good news for consumers – millions of multiple “zombie” superannuation accounts don’t exist anymore, their funds rolled up by the ATO and packed into single accounts. New niche players and FinTech disrupters entered the market, gaining themselves a Prime Ministerial champion and a Senate enquiry. The latest Global Investor Experience Study from Morningstar showed managed funds in Australia are highly competitive, charging the equal lowest level of fees of the 26 countries included in the survey. Life insurance consumers are now protected by a ground-breaking moratorium on genetic tests , as well as privacy for health information. Elderly Australians are more informed about and protected from being ripped off thanks to our Guide to the Prevention of Elder Financial Abuse.
To state the obvious – this was a year of massive change for the wealth sector, where the only constant was the inexorable growth and increasing concentration of superannuation funds. We analysed all the changes, and more, in the FSC’s comprehensive State of the Industry 2019 Report, available (link).
At our Summit in August, speakers like IFM Chairman Greg Combet gave us glimpses of the future, where super funds will increasingly take companies private. The UK Investment Association’s Chris Cummings warned us about an even more costly regulatory landscape, citing their own Compensation Scheme of Last Resort fund as now topping AUD$1 billion.
From articulating the big picture for Australia’s biggest industry, running thought leadership events, and getting into the technical weeds with regulators and Treasury to shape draft legislation and avoid unintended consequences, your FSC team has worked tirelessly. We could not have achieved what we have been able to without the dedicated assistance of so many in your teams, working side by side with us.
Thank you for keeping faith in the collaborative model of advocacy, which continues to hold up well in our democracy. Those who continue to show up get to make the rules.
Have a very peaceful and restful Christmas break.