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Banks should not interfere with regulator media releases says ABA

Banks should not interfere with regulator media releases says ABA

(18 April 2017 – Australia) The new head of the Australian Bankers Association (ABA), Anna Bligh, has responded to claims banks have instructed the corporate regulator to tone down language used in its press releases regarding bad behaviour.

This week, The Australian revealed that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) was pressured by the big banks to change its press releases announcing finding of misconduct.

"Frankly I think that the public and the whole system needs to have confidence that regulators are completely independent of the institutions that they regulate," Bligh said.

"I think that the reports today would alarm many people.

"I'm not aware of any particular incidence, but if there is evidence of it then I think it will erode public confidence."

Bligh added that it was necessary to get approval on press releases, for factual accuracy, however, institutions mentioned in the release should not seek to change the release further.

"I think on one hand there is a role to ensure that any public statements by the regulator are factually correct, but I think there is no role for banks to play in affecting the tone, the message, the content of any statement from the regulator," she said.

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