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Australia government promises funds to expand bank watchdog powers: paper By Reuters

© Reuters. Australia government promises funds to expand bank watchdog powers: paper

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised funding for a major expansion of the powers of the country’s banking watchdog, including a veto on the appointment of directors, the Australian Financial Review reported on Friday.

Frydenberg told the AFR he had “secured a guarantee” from the Australian Prudential (LON:) Regulatory Authority (APRA) that it would accept all recommendations of an independent review into the regulator released earlier this week.

APRA Chairman Wayne Byres had expressed reservations with some of the more contentious recommendations from the capability review, including a veto on directors.

“We have agreed to act on all five recommendations relevant to government, including providing APRA with sufficient powers regarding the appointment and reappointment of directors and senior executives, and APRA has stated it also supports implementation of all 19 recommendations directed at it,” Frydenberg told the AFR.

Byres had also argued that APRA, which is government-funded but independent, needed more money to carry out its work.

“We will give APRA the resources that they need and that will be considered in the context of the budget,” Frydenberg told the AFR. “It will be defined by APRA and Treasury working together.”

The AFR report said Frydenberg was concerned about key findings in the report that went to the culture of APRA, including being too slow to react to cybersecurity threats, too bureaucratic and too cosy with the banks it regulated.

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