The inquiry's terms of reference

The Hon Joe Hockey announced the final terms of reference for the Financial System Inquiry on 20 December 2013. The terms of reference are set out below.

Objectives

The Inquiry is charged with examining how the financial system could be positioned to best meet Australia's evolving needs and support Australia's economic growth.

Recommendations will be made that foster an efficient, competitive and flexible financial system, consistent with financial stability, prudence, public confidence and capacity to meet the needs of users.

Terms of reference

  1. The Inquiry will report on the consequences of developments in the Australian financial system since the 1997 Financial System Inquiry and the global financial crisis, including implications for:
    1. how Australia funds its growth;
    2. domestic competition and international competitiveness; and
    3. the current cost, quality, safety and availability of financial services, products and capital for users.
  2. The Inquiry will refresh the philosophy, principles and objectives underpinning the development of a well-functioning financial system, including:
    1. balancing competition, innovation, efficiency, stability and consumer protection;
    2. how financial risk is allocated and systemic risk is managed;
    3. assessing the effectiveness and need for financial regulation, including its impact on costs, flexibility, innovation, industry and among users;
    4. the role of Government; and
    5. the role, objectives, funding and performance of financial regulators including an international comparison.
  3. The Inquiry will identify and consider the emerging opportunities and challenges that are likely to drive further change in the global and domestic financial system, including:
    1. the role and impact of new technologies, market innovations and changing consumer preferences and demography;
    2. international integration, including international financial regulation;
    3. changes in the way Australia sources and distributes capital, including the intermediation of savings through banks, non-bank financial institutions, insurance companies, superannuation funds and capital markets;
    4. changing organisational structures in the financial sector;
    5. corporate governance structures across the financial system and how they affect stakeholder interests; and
    6. developments in the payment system.
  4. The Inquiry will recommend policy options that:
    1. promote a competitive and stable financial system that contributes to Australia's
      productivity growth;
    2. promote the efficient allocation of capital and cost efficient access and services for users;
    3. meet the needs of users with appropriate financial products and services;
    4. create an environment conducive to dynamic and innovative financial service providers; and
    5. relate to other matters that fall within this terms of reference.
  5. The Inquiry will take account of the regulation of the general operation of companies and trusts to the extent this impinges on the efficiency and effective allocation of capital within the financial system.
  6. The Inquiry will examine the taxation of financial arrangements, products or institutions to the extent these impinge on the efficient and effective allocation of capital by the financial system, and provide observations that could inform the Tax White Paper.
  7. In reaching its conclusions, the Inquiry will take account of, but not make recommendations on the objectives and procedures of the Reserve Bank in its conduct of monetary policy.
  8. The Inquiry may invite submissions and seek information from any persons or bodies.
  9. The Inquiry will consult extensively both domestically and globally. It will publish an interim report in mid-2014 setting out initial findings and seek public feedback. A final report is to be provided to the Treasurer by November 2014.