Banking & Finance

 

S&P upgrades risk of Australian life insurers

Ruth Liew 12:18 PM   Ratings house Standard & Poor's has dialled up its risk warnings for Australian life insurers after a spike in claims.

ASIC sounds benchmark warning to banks

ASIC chair Greg Medcraft has been left frustrated by the banks as it probes manipulation of benchmark rates.

Jonathan Shapiro 10:22 AM   The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has laid down a blueprint for banks to fix the way they set key benchmark interest rates or face further punishment.

Westpac caps LVRs on investor mortgages at 80pc

Westpac and the other major banks are taking action to curb investor lending.

Clancy Yeates 9:55 AM   Australia's biggest lender to landlords, Westpac, will require new property investors to have a deposit of at least 20 per cent.

Bank profits tipped to fall as household debt dries up

Banks will try to maintain profitability in the face of these headwinds by lifting mortgage rates, Goldman Sachs says.

Stephen Cauchi 5:19 PM   Goldman Sachs has maintained its ratings on all of Australia's main banks but has warned of stiff demographic headwinds for the sector.

CBA seeks penalty interest against Willmott victims

The Senate will conduct hearings into tax-driven forestry managed investment schemes early next month.

James Eyers 4:58 PM   Commonwealth Bank of Australia is playing hard ball against victims of the failed managed investment scheme Willmott Forests, insisting they pay penalty interest rates over the period of a class action, which has doubled the amounts owed by some investors.

Time is right for asset sales: NAB

"There's a lot of liquidity in markets today that gives us an opportunity to reposition the bank by selling a lot of these assets" says NAB chief financial officer Craig Drummond.

Clancy Yeates 4:49 PM   National Australia Bank finance chief Craig Drummond says conditions on financial markets are supporting the bank's move to sell assets.

APRA calls out cloud-computing risks for banks

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has highlighted new risks from the shift to cloud computing.

Clancy Yeates   The financial regulator has raised concerns about new risks being created as the industry makes greater use of cloud computing to cut costs and compete with technology-based rivals.

Tech-savvy retail super funds target young members

The number of people measuring up their super fund and deciding to switch is on the rise.

Sally Rose   More and more young workers are choosing to switch out of industry superannuation funds and into the retail funds marketed to them directly by their bank, lured by the convenience of integrated online and mobile platforms.

IOOF compensated 57 clients for poor advice in past two years

Many of the confidential documents relate to Peter Hilton, IOOF head of advice research.

Adele Ferguson and Sarah Danckert   IOOF has compensated 57 customers of its authorised financial planners during the past two years alone, as more evidence comes to light about the company's oversight and compliance. 

Australia a hotbed for digital banking tests: Citi

"We're all moving too slow and we have to figure out how we are going to be relevant in people's lives," said Heather Cox from Citigroup.

Ruth Liew   Banks are 'all moving too slow' when it comes to providing digital products that are relevant to customers, according to Heather Cox, the head of digital for one of the world's most powerful consumer banks, Citi.

CBA cuts deposit interest rates

CBA has reversed a May decision to raise two deposit interest rates.

Clancy Yeates   The Commonwealth Bank has reversed its May decision to raise two deposit account interest rates, a move it had said was influenced by consideration of savers.

Big banks tipped to sell wealth arms

Australian banks might consider wealth sales to help fund more stringent capital requirements.

Sally Patten   Lacklustre earnings growth, low returns on equity and the explosion of self-managed superannuation schemes could prompt the major banks to sell all or parts of their wealth businesses, Citi predicts.

P&N Bank to trial Decimal's financial advice platform

Decimal has build an automated financial advice platform for banks and super funds.

James Eyers   ASX-listed Decimal Software has entered the mutual banking market, with WA-based P&N Bank trialling its robo-advice platform.

Mutual lenders call for return of capital raising power

Mutual lenders say changes made after the financial crisis to what they can count as capital has crimped their growth.

Shaun Drummond   Credit unions, building societies and mutual banks want regulators to let them raise equity that pays franked dividends and counts as loss-absorbing capital to ensure they stay competitive with listed banks.

Home loan curbs slow investor borrowing

Tighter lending conditions for investor borrowers might be starting to bite.

Clancy Yeates   One of the country's biggest mortgage brokers, Mortgage Choice, says the clampdown on lending to landlords has dragged property investors' share of its loan approvals to a 20-month low.

Former Provident Capital director cops two-year ban

ASIC found John Sweeney guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct.

Sarah Danckert   A former director of subprime lender Provident Capital, which collapsed in 2012 owing thousands of investors $130 million, has been banned from working the financial services industry for two years after being caught providing faulty reports to a subsidiary of embattled financial services giant IOOF.  

IOOF chairman to front Senate

Labor senator Sam Dastyari says IOOF will not be able to sweep misbehaviour 'under the rug'.

Adele Ferguson and Sarah Danckert   The Senate has added IOOF chairman Roger Sexton and company secretary Danielle Corcoran as the company representatives it wishes to examine next week at a hearing in Sydney. 

ASX tech chief says overhaul unique

ASX chief information officer Tim Thurman has an extra 75 contract staff on top of his 200 IT staff on site every day to upgrade its systems.

Shaun Drummond   ASX Ltd chief information officer Tim Thurman is a veteran of exchange upgrades but he says the overhaul of the ASX's systems is unique in his experience because everything is being replaced, including some ancient technology.

Janus Capital snaps up 51pc of Challenger's Kapstream

Janus Capital Group counts bond guru Bill Gross among its investment personnel.

Ruth Liew   Janus Capital Group, which counts bond guru Bill Gross among its investment personnel, has snapped up a 51 per cent stake in Australian fixed-income manager Kapstream Capital.

ANZ tipped to sell Asia stakes in capital push

ANZ may sell its stake in Panin Bank in Indonesia and two Chinese banks to boost capital, says Deutsche.

James Eyers   The need for higher equity ratios will drive ANZ to sell its capital-hungry minority stakes in up to three Asian banks over the next couple of years, Deutsche Bank says.

HSBC eyes Australian-Chinese growth

HSBC executives said Australia was a priority market for the group, with the country's links to Asia being a key focus.

Clancy Yeates   HSBC has singled out the booming trade and investment flows between Australia and China as a key priority.

ATM use on the decline

42 per cent of customers do not use an ATM in a typical week, new figures show.

Clancy Yeates   More and more people do not use an ATM in a typical week, new figures show.

Hedge fund returns drop from 14.4pc to 4.2pc

Arrow pointing down

Joyce Moullakis   Annual returns in the hedge fund sector fell from 14.4 per cent in 2012 to just 4.2 per cent in 2014.

Money3 shares soar after ASIC deal

After pressure from ASIC Payday lender Money3 is reducing some fees and refunding some customers.

James Eyers   Shares in Money3 surged by almost 20 per cent on Wednesday morning after the payday lender said it had resolved a query from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission over a previous loan product. 

Qantas, Virgin revenue threatened by payment reforms

Cuts and caps to merchant card fees paid to banks, being considered by the Reserve Bank, could hit airline rewards businesses hard.

Shaun Drummond   Qantas and Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer businesses could lose at least $100 million in revenue from banks if the Reserve Bank implements the mildest of the reforms to payments regulation it is now considering.

Investment loans not slowing down

Australian banks might consider wealth sales to help fund more stringent capital requirements.

Clancy Yeates   Housing investor credit growth expanded at a quicker pace than the banking regulator's 10 per cent-a-year cap in May.

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Coinbase to push bitcoin in Australia after Westpac VC deal

Coinbase provides a range of services to the bitcoin economy.

James Eyers   The co-founder of Coinbase, Fred Ehrsam, says the Bitcoin company will engage with local regulators about cryptocurrencies as a precursor to potential expansion in Australia.

Professional indemnity prices remain flat for financial advisers

Mega Capital says the cost of  professional indemnity insurance has remained flat despite a flurry of dodgy planning practices in the past two years.

Ruth Liew   Despite a flurry of scandals that have hit the financial planning sector, the cost of professional indemnity insurance for financial advisers is expected to remain flat in the next year, thanks to increasing competition among insurers.

zipMoney in $5m backdoor listing

zipMoney boss Larry Diamond in 2009 when he was a banker at Macquarie Capital.

Shaun Drummond   A start-up that gives interest-free loans to online shoppers for anything from boob jobs to bicycles will raise $5 million via a backdoor listing to take the fight to established rivals like GE Capital and FlexiGroup.

Victory for Cabcharge competitors but little gained

Analysts and Cabcharge's competitors have mixed views on the ACCC's move to allow rivals to process its cards.

Shaun Drummond   The late Cabcharge founder Reg Kermode would not be pleased with the competition watchdog's move to force open its taxi payment system and allow rivals to process its cards, but he would be happy with how little the company gave away in the deal.