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Just meeting standards isn't enough: Everett

A system where industry participants are aiming to meet a bare minimum is not enough, says the new chief executive of the Financial Markets Authority.

Monday, April 7th 2014, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Rob Everett addressed members of the industry at the FMA’s quarterly update event last week.

He said he did not want  “threshold compliance”, where players would work to meet minimum requirements – but nothing beyond that. “The bare minimum is very rarely enough.”

He said he also did not want to see a culture of permissiveness, where if something was not specifically prohibited, or if a sneaky way could be found around the rules, participants would think it was okay. “It isn’t.”

Everett said every industry player should strive for the best possible outcome and there should be no tolerance for those doing deliberate or reckless harm. “We need to convince investors and customers that we are clean and open and focused on providing real service.”

The FMA would recognise and acknowledge good faith and genuine efforts to comply, but would not tolerate sloppiness. “Where you are clearly striving to get it right for customers and the market, we will be fair and supportive.”

Compliance focus would be put on the areas where there was the most potential harm, he said, and the FMA wanted industry participants to be confident that it was not just box checking, looking for ways to trip businesses up.

“We would rather guide and prevent than enforce and punish… but no framework is effective without the real and credible threat of sanctions.”

Everett said every industry participant should embed the interests of the customers in everything they did. He said he could not understand why the Australian regulator had backed away from a formal requirement for financial advisers to put their customers’ interests first.

« FMA: DIMS harder but not impossibleIFA working on pro-bono offering »

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