The real cause of poor behaviour in banks


Here is the text of a letter of mine to the editor that the Australian Financial Review published last week.

 

Karen Maley writes that Commissioner Kenneth Hayne has posed the question, “Is incentive remuneration necessary?” in relation to banking. Maley describes this question as radical. I would describe it as a very good question.

Will Commissioner Hayne, having another few months to complete his report, pose two more questions that strike at the core of the cultural problems in Australian banking? They are: 1) Is the Reserve Bank necessary? 2) Is the four pillars banking policy necessary? These questions would render his first one redundant. It is time to have the discussion. A sound banking, monetary and payments system needs neither the RBA nor the four pillars policy. In removing them the potential benefits for the real economy, rather than the financial economy, are material. However, given the timidity of parliamentarians, I do not underestimate the difficulty Hayne would face in putting those questions in his final report.

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