Law firm partner to head banking review


By Megan Tran

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The government has announced that law firm King & Wood Mallesons will oversee its independent review into implementing a transparent banking regime to make Australia’s banking system more beneficial for consumers.

In a statement, Treasurer Scott Morrison said the investigation, which would be headed by the firm’s partner Scott Farrell, would look at how open data in banking could encourage innovation and competition in the financial services sector.

Farrell, who Morrison said had “vast experience in guiding regulatory change in the financial sector”, was already a member of the government’s FinTech Advisory Group.

Morrison said the goal of the eventual open banking regime would be to allow Australians greater access to their banking data, which had the potential to transform the way consumers engaged with the banks.

The independent review would recommend strategies to implement a transparent banking regime, with the report due by year’s end.

“Greater consumer access to their own banking data and data on banking products will allow consumers to seek out products that better suit their circumstances, saving them money and allowing them to better achieve their financial goals,” Morrison said.

He added that the regime would create further opportunities for innovative business models to drive competition and contribute to productivity growth, meaning greater choice and varied options for financial services consumers.

“Our moves to introduce an open banking regime in Australia are part of our comprehensive reforms to financial services, driven to empower consumers. The Turnbull government is committed to opening the door to new banking entrants and new financial products and services,” Morrison said.

Farrell would be joined in the review by a secretariat located within Treasury and would draw upon technical expertise from the private sector, Morrison said.

The review would consult with the banking, consumer advocacy and fintech sectors, with an issues paper being released for associated parties to provide input.

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