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Banking & Finance

Big four banks to raise $134 billion from wholesale markets

CLANCY YEATES 8:00am Australia's big four banks are tipped to raise $134 billion from wholesale markets this financial year, the most since 2009-10, as lenders use cheaper global funds to fuel domestic competition.

Advisers aside, FoFA can't stop dud investments

Most Australians could do with some sound financial advice.

MICHAEL PASCOE 12:42pm If FoFA really is the Future of Financial Advice, financial advice doesn’t have much of a future.

Fears Australian banks ill-prepared for housing-induced crisis

Only five MPsspent less than 80 per cent of their allowances.

Jonathan Shapiro and Clancy Yeates One of Australia’s largest institutional investors says the main banks are ill-prepared to respond and recover from a housing-induced crisis.

Labor's FOFA rules unworkable, says BT boss Brad Cooper

BT Financial

CLANCY YEATES The head of Westpac-owned BT Financial Group says Labor's open-ended requirement for financial advisers to act in their clients' best interests is "unworkable".

Finance industry standards report a new headache for Mathias Cormann

Adele Ferguson dinkus Dinkus

ADELE FERGUSON After losing the battle to windback financial advice laws, Senator Mathias Cormann will need to carefully consider how he reacts to a report from an industry working group into the professional, ethical and educational standards of financial planners.

Banksia knew Statewide's loan book was in a poor state before merger, court told

Banksia

GEORGIA WILKINS Directors of failed rural lender Banksia Securities signed off on a deal to merge with struggling investment firm Statewide despite describing its loan book as "sh*thouse", court documents allege. 

FoFA

Banks weigh risks of advice after FoFA changes

Legal uncertainty: The winding back of the Coalition's FoFA reforms may make it risky for banks to provide some forms of financial advice, the industry says.

CLANCY YEATES Banks say turning back to Labor's financial advice laws will make it harder for them to offer key types of advice to customers, because they will face heightened legal uncertainty.

Banks

Banking culture breeds dishonesty, study finds

Stunningly, the study's findings didn't carry over to other industries.

What is it with bankers? Bank employees, when primed to think about their finance jobs, are more likely to cheat and be dishonest, a scientific study at the University of Zurich has found.

Fraud

ASIC takes LM Investment founder Peter Drake to court

Gold Coast financier Peter Drake.

GEORGIA WILKINS The corporate regulator has taken LM Investment directors and founder Peter Drake to court, seeking penalties and banning orders over the collapsed Gold Coast fund manager.

Insurers

NAB hires Deloitte as it mulls $1.4b sale of life insurance unit

No sacred cows: NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn at the bank's earnings presentation in late October.

Joyce Moullakis National Australia Bank has appointed Deloitte to lay the groundwork for the potential $1.4 billion sale of its ­beleaguered life insurance unit as it assesses options including a full or ­partial spin-off of the division.

Financial planners furious over FOFA laws rollback

Financial advisers.

Clancy Yeates and Ruth Liew Financial planners will have to start contacting hundreds of thousands of customers and ask them if they want to remain clients from mid next year if the Senate votes to a return to Labor's financial advice laws.

FoFA

FOFA reforms: Senate shock spurs financial adviser scramble

Mathias Cormann may have rolled out a Trojan horse in his spirited defence of the government’s changes to the FOFA rules.

Gareth Hutchens, Clancy Yeates, Ruth Liew The financial planning industry faces a frantic scramble to comply with federal law changes governing how they deal with customers after a dramatic day in the Senate.

Banking

ANZ traders stood down over interest rate rigging probe

ANZ is one of 14 banks being investigated over interest rate rigging.

James Eyers ANZ has stood down seven traders caught up in investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission into possible manipulation of Australia’s benchmark interest rate.

Roy Morgan bank rankings 2014: Westpac takes lead with customers

Parting gift from departing chief Gail Kelly: Westpac has beaten Commonwealth Bank to lead in customer satisfaction ratings for the first time in a decade. The ratings are tied to senior executive bonuses.

CLANCY YEATES Westpac has overtaken the Commonwealth Bank as the big four lender with the highest customer satisfaction rating, after a year in which CBA's reputation has been tarnished by a financial planning scandal.

FOFA law change rebellion lauded by financial advice victims

Financial advice victims back crossbench rebellion:  Merilyn Swan.

Yolanda Redrup Victims of dodgy financial planners have strongly backed the crossbench rebellion that will undo the Coalition government changes to consumer protection laws.

Banks

Westpac overtakes CBA on customer satisfaction

Parting gift from departing chief Gail Kelly: Westpac has beaten Commonwealth Bank to lead customer satisfaction ratings for the first time in a decade. The ratings are tied to senior executive bonuses.

CLANCY YEATES Westpac has overtaken the Commonwealth Bank as the major lender with the highest customer satisfaction rating after a year in which CBA's reputation has been tarnished by a financial planning scandal.

Regulation

What scrapping the FoFA changes means for you

Advisers would have to satisfy a tougher legal duty to act in the best interests of their clients.

CLANCY YEATES If cross-bench and Opposition Senators block the Coalition's rollback of Labor's financial advice laws, as they plan to, we will revert to laws put in place by the Gillard government. Here's what that would mean for consumers:

FoFA

FoFA changes in tatters in body blow to Abbott Government

Under pressure to find a compromise: Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann.

ADELE FERGUSON The Abbott Government has been dealt a major body blow. Its plans to wind back financial advice laws are in tatters after controversial Senators Jacqui Lambie and Ricky Muir decided to band together and support a move against them.

Westpac moves first on 'terrorist' accounts

Westpac Banking Corp will shut down the accounts of money transfer operators on November 24.

James Eyers Westpac Banking Corp will shut down the accounts of money transfer operators on November 24, due to growing fears about breaching strict terrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws, leaving hundreds of legitimate remitters to developing countries in the lurch.

Banking

Westpac closes door on money transfer operators as terror laws bite

Anti-terror and fraud laws make legitimate money transfers so tricky that customers will be forced to use underground services, claims the industry.

James Eyers Westpac will shut down the accounts of money transfer operators on November 24, due to growing fears about breaching strict terrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws.

Banking

January deadline for NAB fees class action

The class action against NAB over fees has been re-opened to allow more people to join.

CLANCY YEATES National Australia Bank customers have until late January to sign up to a class action over about $40 million in bank fees, which the bank is moving to settle.

Payments

Alibaba launches in Australia with Alipay

Alipay International president Sabrina Peng

Yolanda Redrup Alibaba founder and billionaire Jack Ma's payment offshoot company is eyeing aggressive expansion in Australia.

Banking

Macquarie Group hit by Tax Office 'U-turn'

Macquarie Group had been the subject of an intensive “large business audit” by the ATO over 2006, 2007 and 2008, that could have resulted in an estimated tax bill of about $300 million.

NASSIM KHADEM The Tax Office denied Macquarie Group a controversial tax deduction related to offshore subsidiaries that resulted in a long-running and costly court battle, while at the same time allowing other taxpayers to claim the deductions, a report finds.

Banking

Australia-China FTA provides opportunities for Australian financial services

Financial services

James Eyers, Clancy Yeates and Ruth Liew Australian banks have the green light to expand branch networks in China, local fund managers will be able to invest on behalf of Chinese institutions, and Australian insurers will write Chinese third-party motor vehicle insurance contracts as the historic free trade agreement creates a wave of opportunities in financial services.

Former NAB chief Cameron Clyne's pay packet shrinks

Cameron Clyne also missed out on up to $19 million worth of equity used as a long-term incentive, which lapsed during the year.

CLANCY YEATES Former National Australia Bank chief Cameron Clyne received a pay cut of more than $1 million in his statutory remuneration after millions in performance shares lapsed in the last financial year.

Banks

New Westpac chief Brian Hartzer under pressure to close branches

Dramatic change in branch numbers is unlikely.

CLANCY YEATES Incoming Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer faces market pressure to cut costs by closing low-returning branches, as he puts technology at the centre of the bank's growth strategy.

G20 leaders to endorse plan to make global banking giants more resilient

A visitor walks through the media centre ahead of the G20 Summit in Brisbane on November 13, 2014. Brisbane will host the G20 Leadership Summit on November 15-16. AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS

CLANCY YEATES Preventing taxpayer-funded rescues of the world's biggest banks will be one of the top priorities for global leaders meeting in Brisbane this weekend.

Probe

ASIC appoints KordaMentha to probe Commonwealth Bank financial planning

Two arms of the Commonwealth Bank's financial planning division will be examined to see if they broke licence conditions.

GEORGIA WILKINS The corporate regulator has appointed KordaMentha to examine two of the Commonwealth Bank's financial planning arms. 

Where to next for Gail Kelly?

Westpac chief Gail Kelly.

James Eyers Gail Kelly has been globetrotting this year as an expanding array of international policy positions have whisked her into the corridors of global power.

Equities

Westpac shares tumble after Kelly's resignation

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly at the company's full year results in 2014.

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman Westpac shares have delivered around a 25 per cent return over the past seven years that outgoing boss Gail Kelly has been at the helm, but given the sharp fall in the stock following her resignation, the question is whether the bank can keep delivering for investors.

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