A commission of inquiry reaches a damning verdict on Australia’s banks

IF A HEALTHY banking system is dull, then Australia’s must be sick to the core. A royal commission with a broad remit to investigate abuses by the country’s financial institutions has found many troubling practices. Hearings revealed that for years banks had hidden fees, charged money for non-existent services and docked charges from the dead. Financial advisers earned bonuses for channelling clients’ cash towards underperforming funds. Insurance companies flogged junk schemes to the poor or mentally disabled.

Australia’s four biggest lenders saw their market capitalisation fall by an average of 16.3% while the commission was sitting, knocking A$66bn ($47.1bn) off their combined value. In April the country’s biggest asset manager, AMP, sacked its chief executive and chairman after the inquiry heard that it had not only charged customers for advice that was never provided, but had lied to the regulators about it....

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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