7 May 2009

Address to the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA)

Good morning.

It gives me great pleasure to be here today speaking to the Financial Services Institute of Australia, Finsia.

I would like to first thank Martin Fahey, your hard-working CEO, for this advice and advocacy. It's appreciated and valued, thank you.

Today's event is about issues of climate change and corporate and social responsibility, particularly in the financial services sector. The confluence of these issues is of critical importance to our entire community.

This morning I will be making some comments about the Rudd Government's progress in this area during the last almost 18 months, but I will also be taking this opportunity to update you on a few things about another stream of our work, and that is what could be called the Government's "regulatory responsibilities".

By this I mean our progress on advancing better, sounder, clearer and more consistent regulation of financial services that, one the one hand greatly improves investor protections, especially in some areas where very little or none currently exists; and, on the other hand, streamlines processes for businesses and supports truly national markets.

This is work made all the more important by the global financial crisis and recession.

But more on that shortly. First, I want to turn to today's issue at hand.

Finsia's "In the long grass" report

Finsia's new research report "In the long grass – leadership in adversity", is an important contribution to an important set of issues.

As the report cogently points out, the world is confronted by the twin challenges of transitioning to a low-carbon economy and reforming our financial system. Finsia call this the "perfect storm".

On the nature of the challenge at hand, I couldn't agree more. Just a few weeks ago, I commented that we faced, in my words, a twin set of challenges, each of which on their own was the greatest a generation has been required to face.

But as I have also said, these twin adversities have created some of the best opportunities we have had for many, many years to make fundamental policy decisions.

It must be made clear that if we are in the "perfect storm", however unprecedented, we cannot just batten down the hatches and ride it out – that is insufficient, sitting back and seeing what comes of events is just not enough.

What is essential, in these times of adversity, as the title of Finsia's paper and this conference suggest is leadership.

Effective leadership builds a prosperous, sustainable and secure future.

This is the kind of leadership, I can assure you the Rudd Government is pursuing.

It's also the kind leadership I must commend Finsia for showing in this field.

Finsia, has played a critical role in driving the recognition and understanding of the impact that environmental, social and governance (ESG) has on our long term economic prosperity.

The release of today's research paper, the final in a three stage process, is valuable piece of work that addresses the issues for the industry as a whole, including financial planners and advisers, brokers, fund managers and asset owners and bankers,

It demonstrates Finsia's proactive commitment to capacity building in the industry, and protects the long-term strength and competitiveness of all its 17,000 members across Australia and New Zealand.

It is also an important step in building the financial services industry and economy of tomorrow.

Coming back to the "perfect storm", I would say that whilst today it may feel like such a tempest, we can chart a path out of the bad weather and the upside with be significant.

As we get the solutions right and put in place the measures to buttress our prosperity into the future, we will emerge from the storm into calm, clear weather, all the stronger for the experience.

The Rudd Government's record on ESG issues

As you all know, our national economy is operating against the backdrop of a global recession, the worst global economic circumstances in almost 75 years.

Next week the Government will hand down a Budget in this context. As the Treasurer has made clear, revenues have been dramatically revised down as a result of the global recession and very hard decisions have to be made.

The Rudd Government recognises that a strong economy must be maintained if we are to address the challenges we now face. That is why the Government has acted quickly to cushion Australia from the worst impacts of the global recession.

The Government has taken responsible and targeted policy actions to support economic activity, jobs and Australia's long-term future.

A future that builds long-term prosperity by protecting the possibilities of future generations without losing sight of the needs of the current one.

And it is this long-termism that has meant that, even in the current tough times, we have pushed ahead with a new agenda to mainstream ESG issues.

Addressing the broad social, economic and environmental challenges being exposed by both climate change and the global financial crisis and recession, is key to restoring trust, credibility and confidence, which is critical to the community and economy.

First to financial services and ESG issues.

The investment industry

Our managed funds industry is one of the major markets for managed funds in the world and the largest in the Asia Pacific. Superannuation funds dominate the local industry with more than A$1.1 trillion under investment, and this is forecast to grow to around A$2.5 trillion by 2015.

The potential for ESG factors to impact heavily on the long-term viability of investments, including superannuation, links them inextricably to beneficiary outcomes, including financial returns.

In my view, the consideration of ESG factors is so critical to the long-term financial success of super assets, it is an important part of trustees' fiduciary responsibilities. And as such, I believe that ESG and other extra-financial factors should be incorporated into the investment decision-making process of superannuation trustees.

That is why I have requested the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority to review its investment guidance with the aim of clarifying the fiduciary responsibility of trustees in regard to balancing short and long-term investment goals and to make it clear that trustees can incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in the formulation of their investment and other operational strategies.

Responsible Investment Academy

With the growing evidence of the importance of ESG factors and the strong commitment by investors to address these issues – comes the challenge of actually incorporating it into their investment methodology.

I am keen to take advantage of this window of opportunity to engage the investment sector as they reassess their strategies in light of the current economic and environmental climate.

That is why the Government has provided $2.5 million over three years to the Responsible Investment Association Australasia to help it establish the Responsible Investment Academy.

Other Government action

We've also acted in several other ways.

In May last year, the Prime Minister announced that the Government had granted $2 million over three years to the St James Ethics Centre.

This support has enabled the Centre to build a hub of activity working with Australian businesses to develop their capacity to identify and adopt more responsible business practices.

The Centre has continued to develop and refine the CSR management tools available to small-to-medium enterprises and the Corporate Responsibility Index.

Also, in a world first, the funding has enabled the Centre to become the focal point in Australia for the Global Reporting Initiative - the international gold standard for reporting on sustainability and the UN Global Compact - the global initiative in corporate citizenship with over 6000 business participants in over 130 countries.

Australia will also be represented for the first time - as a result of a decision taken by the Rudd Government - on the Global Reporting Initiative, or GRI Governmental Advisory Group.

Through its membership, the Government can directly contribute to the development of the GRI and improve its relevance and uptake in Australia.

Executive Remuneration

Sound corporate governance is important in ensuring sustainable economic growth and our future prosperity and international competitiveness. It is important not to forget the "G" in ESG.

Executive remuneration policies are a critical component of corporate governance.

The current global financial crisis has in part demonstrated the disastrous effects of bad remuneration policies.

Superannuation funds have a fiduciary duty to engage as empowered shareholders in the best interest of their members.

The Government is addressing the remuneration issue on three fronts.

  • APRA is developing a set of executive remuneration principles for the prudentially regulated sector, aimed at encouraging the removal of incentives that promote excessive, dangerous and short-term risk-taking.
  • I've released new legislation to dramatically curb excessive termination benefits or "golden handshakes" paid to executives in Australia, opening these types of payment up to a greater level of shareholder scrutiny; and
  • The Productivity Commission is undertaking a broad-ranging inquiry into the current framework around remuneration of directors and executives in Australia.

Climate change

The other half of the twin challenge is of course climate change.

Climate change has shown that environmental issues have a direct economic impact and implications for business activities.

The Rudd Government recognises climate change as a priority for decisive and responsible action both at home and abroad.

We also understand the central role of the business and investment sector in delivering this action.

As the UK Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform recently said "low carbon is not a sector of our economy – it is or will be our whole economy."

This is a massive and long term transition that will only be realised on the foundations of a secure and strong economy.

Just this week the Rudd Government announced changes to The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in response to the global recession.

Under the changes, the scheme will be phased in from 1 July 2011 and a new, ambitious 25 per cent by 2020 target has been put on the table.

In addition, the changes will deliver further assistance to businesses during these difficult economic times.

As I mentioned, the Government has also made a commitment to reduce carbon pollution by 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 if the world agrees to an ambitious global deal to stabilise levels of CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million or less by 2050.

If the world achieves this ambitious agreement, Australia will meet this 25 per cent target by harnessing the CPRS, the expanded Renewable Energy Target, and with substantial investment in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency and strategic investment in carbon capture and storage.

In developing this package, the Government has embraced the views of the Australian community.

We have listened to calls from the business community for a later, more gradual start to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and additional assistance to help manage the impacts of the global recession.

This new commitment follows extensive consultation with environmental advocates on the best way to maximise Australia's contribution to an ambitious outcome in international negotiations at Copenhagen this December.

And while we recognise that there are differences of opinion in regard to certain aspects of the CPRS, we have made a decision that is very much in the nation's interest.

Together the package of measures strengthens our response to climate change, ensuring Australia plays its part in global efforts to tackle climate change while managing any impacts on our economy.

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation will be introduced when Parliament resumes.

It is critical to delivering the investment certainty needed during these difficult economic times and providing the regulatory and investment certainty over the long term that is needed to drive new and innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions.

It will also place Australia in a powerful position to advocate for the global agreement that is needed to protect future generations of Australians from the most damaging impacts of climate change.

Fulfilling our "regulatory responsibility" in financial services

Earlier, I mentioned that today I would also be talking about our important work on the regulation of financial services, on how we are fulfilling our "regulatory responsibilities" as a Government during the global financial crisis and recession.

These critical reforms are occurring in a number of areas.

Last week I, along with the Chairman of ASIC, launched the National Consumer Credit Protection package.

I am of course happy to take questions on the package this morning but in short it will see, through the National Consumer Credit Protection Bill, the introduction of a new nation-wide regulatory regime based on single, standard, national regulation of consumer credit for the first time in our country's history.

This includes all consumer credit - mortgages, credit cards, and investment lending to over 5.7 million Australian households.

This sector represented the last of Australia's financial services industries not to be fully and nationally regulated. It is also a sector that represents a large slice of daily financial transactions undertaken by Australian consumers.

In a globalised environment, having six states and two territories regulating this area was absurd. The new law will replace inconsistent State and Territory laws and will significantly reduce the amount of credit legislation across Australia from up to 2,500 pages over eight jurisdictions down to one comprehensive regime.

ASIC will be the sole regulator and $71 million has been allocated for the job.

The new national law will be based on two important principles — responsible lending and consumer protection. Credit providers will be required to provide credit services honestly, fairly and responsibly.

They will also need to ensure that the loans, or other credit services, that they provide are suitable for their clients. They will also have to make sure that clients can afford to repay their loans.

These rules will give consumers a new level of protection.

Credit providers who breach the provisions of their licence — particularly rules relating to responsible lending — could have their licence to provide consumer credit withdrawn.

The package contains a range of other important new features, but today I want to address the second tranche of the Rudd Government's project to bring all of Australia's financial services into the 21st century.

Financial Services Modernisation Bill

Today I am very pleased to announce the release of the Corporations Legislation (Financial Services Modernisation) Bill 2009.

The Financial Services Modernisation Bill delivers on the second cluster of major financial services reforms arising out from the COAG process – namely the national regulation of margin lending and of trustee corporations. To this, the Government has added clearer, safer regulation of debentures.

I will turn to each area in a moment, but first I want to stress that with this Bill now released, Australian financial services consumers stand to have, for the first time, a truly national, truly holistic set of financial services laws. Similarly, Australian financial services providers will be able to do away with confusing, often contradictory legal regimes in up to eight different jurisdictions. This will save money, save time and boost productivity.

Margin lending

The first of the three elements of the Financial Services Modernisation Bill is the introduction of the national regulation of margin loans.

Whilst the levels of margin lending have fallen back in the last 12 months due to the global financial crisis, over the last decade margin lending has exploded as a financial product in our community.

In June 1999, there was less than $5 billion borrowed through margin loans but by December, 2007 that figure had rocketed to over $37 billion, more than a 700% increase in as many years. Between 2000 and 2008 the number of individual loans rose from 87,000 to more than 200,000.

So that's nearly a quarter of a million Australians who had a margin loan.

During the past 12 months, as you will all be aware, there has been a number of high profile financial collapses in which many retail investors have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and even, in some cases, their family homes, due to margin loans.

Margin lending has not been subject to the credit regime operated by the States and for a decade the Commonwealth missed the opportunity to provide some regulatory leadership.

In fact, margin loans have to date not been subject to any specific regulatory regime at all.

Now, whilst properly geared margin lending, backed by full disclosure, does have a place in our financial services landscape, the Rudd Government will not tolerate ordinary Australians being misled into grossly inappropriate margin loans that can cost a family everything they own, including their home.

As part of the new national credit regime, margin loans will for the first time become subject to specific legislation designed to protect consumers from harmful lending practices.

Corporations Act protections

As margin loans are generally used to finance investments in listed and unlisted securities, the decision has been made to regulate them as part of the financial services regime in Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act.

This means that for the first time, investors taking out margin loans will be protected by the full general investor protection regime in the Corporations Act.

Lenders and advisers will have to be licensed and regulated by ASIC.

They will therefore also become subject to supervision and enforcement action by ASIC.

Consumers will have access to independent, free and fast dispute resolution services.

And importantly, advisers will be required to provide advice that is appropriate to the client's needs and circumstances.

Margin lending-specific responsible lending

Margin loan providers and advisers will also become subject to margin lending-specific responsible lending requirements.

Under the new laws, advisers will have to provide advice that is not only appropriate to a consumer's needs and circumstances but also reflects responsible lending practices.

These requirements are designed to ensure that consumers are not placed into unsuitable loans which they cannot afford.

In particular, lenders and advisers will have to consider the impact on borrowers that have taken on additional debt to set up a margin loan, and who may have used their homes as security for that debt.

One area where we have had a high level of concern has been where people have been advised to take equity out of their family home and then to use this debt to leverage into buying shares through a margin loan.

This "double-debt" trap, with a home as security, is of serious concern and in most instances, under the margin lending responsible lending provisions, borrowers would not be able to use their home in this way, without the appropriate income to service their margin lending debt.

Under our new responsible margin lending laws the lender will be required to assess a person's "true" loan-to-value ratio. This means the lender can no longer assume the money brought to the table isn't itself debt, a major new improvement that will see the risk of people losing their homes significantly reduced.

Whilst I cannot go into depth and comment on the particular case, this important new measure is designed to prevent problems such as those that occurred following the recent collapse of Storm Financial.

As a consequence of that collapse, a significant number of margin loan borrowers are now at risk of losing their homes because they are not able to repay their margin loans.

Lenders and advisers will only be able to provide or recommend a margin loan in such circumstances if they are reasonably sure that the borrower is able to afford the loan without suffering substantial hardship.


The new laws will also provide for significantly improved and appropriate consumer disclosures.

Many margin lenders use commission-based fee structures and there is an issue over whether this may see some people put into inappropriately leveraged and large loan facilities.

Very clear upfront disclosure of fee structures and levels will make a significant contribution to addressing this concern.

Other measures

The regime will in addition include a number of specific measures that apply exclusively to margin loans.

Care has been taken to draft a definition of margin loans that captures both standard margin loans as well as non-standard structures such as those used in the past by failed entities such as Opes Prime.

This is important because non-standard margin loans contained some features that were not well understood by borrowers.

As a consequence, some investors suffered significant losses when the loan providers failed.

Capturing these types of margin loans within the regime will ensure potential borrowers are properly informed about the special features of these loans and what they may mean.

The legislation will also clarify which party is responsible for notifying the client in the case of a margin call, and how that margin call should and can be made.

Margin calls occur when the security provided by the borrower has fallen in value by a certain amount.

If a margin call is not notified promptly, borrowers may be unable to take prompt action to address the shortfall in security.

And if markets continue to fall at this point, borrowers may end up in negative equity. Negative equity means that the value of the security provided by borrowers is insufficient to repay the margin loan.

The new regime will permit new mechanisms to ensure the margin call is promptly made and where possible, instantly communicated. The use of text message and email notices is one example of how this new regime is built to make the most of technology and processes now available.

If borrowers do not have additional funds to repay their loan, and if they have given their home as security, they may be at risk of having their homes repossessed, so quick notification becomes ever more important.

Overly aggressive margin lending, delays in notification of margin calls, and extremely volatile markets are the main reasons why some Storm clients may be at risk of losing their homes.

The Rudd Government intends that this issue should be addressed. The responsible lending and notification requirements are designed to do this.

The proposed regulatory regime for margin loans will ensure that borrowers are dealt with appropriately by lenders and advisers, and that they have recourse to appropriate remedies where misconduct occurs.

Simplified disclosure materials

In addition to improving what is disclosed, we will be making dramatic improvements to how it is disclosed also.

Parallel to the measures I have just talked about, a new margin loan product disclosure document is being designed by the Government-led Financial Services Working Group.

The document will inform potential borrowers in concise and clear language of key factors they need to consider before they take out a margin loan.

This document is currently being designed in close cooperation with margin lenders and other stakeholders and it will be separately introduced through regulations at a later date.

All in all, today marks the turning of very new page for margin lending in our country. As I have said, there is a place for margin lending in our financial services landscape as long it stands to create household wealth rather than destroy it.

The Government believes we've got the balance right today and our financial services sector will be stronger for it.

Trustee corporations

Now I would like to turn to the other two areas covered by the Bill that I am releasing here this morning.

The Bill also delivers on the Rudd Government's commitment to the States and Territories and to the finance sector, made through the Council of Australian Governments, to assume responsibility for the regulation of trustee companies through the introduction of legislation providing for a single, standard, national regulatory regime for the first time in the long history of these companies.

As part of the Bill, the Government is implementing the transfer of responsibility for trustee companies' regulation from the states and territories to the Commonwealth.

Trustee companies are currently regulated at the State and Territory level and there are currently ten private licensed trustee companies operating in Australia.

Members of the Trustee Corporations Association, the sectors' peak body, have approximately $510 billion of assets under management. Of this, around $24 billion is in "traditional trustee services", such as when acting as a trustee for charitable trusts, in deceased estate administration and for minors.

This Bill completely reshapes the regulation of this multi-billion dollar financial services industry and reflects the Rudd Government's plan to modernise Australian financial services regulation into the 21st century.

The new laws include a significant boost for consumer protections, a major reduction in red-tape for business and the creation of a national market for trustee corporation services for the first time.

The new regime, which is focused on entity‑level regulation of trustee companies' traditional services, will provide authority under Commonwealth law for trustee companies to perform these traditional functions, deem such services to be "financial services" and require them to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence when selling such services.

During 2008, the Government raised the options of establishing either the prudential regulation of trustee companies or a consumer-focused regulatory regime to be overseen by ASIC.

After extensive consultation, ASIC regulation has been chosen as the most effective way forward.

However, the Bill goes one extra step and also contains a requirement for trustee corporations to maintain a minimum capital level, thereby further improving consumer protection.

A single and clear national law administered by ASIC will reduce business compliance costs and reduce barriers to entry, while maintaining a robust regulatory framework.

It is intended to cover trustee companies so-called 'traditional' services, such as applying for probate of a will; acting as executor/administrator of a deceased estate; acting as trustee of a trust (including a charitable trust or foundation); acting under power of attorney; acting as a guardian or financial manager for a person who is unable to manage his or her own affairs; acting as a manager of common funds.

Many trustee companies offer broader financial services, such as acting as trustees of superannuation funds, as responsible entities of managed investment schemes, or as trustees for debenture holders.

In undertaking these functions, they are subject to Commonwealth legislation, including the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act and the Corporations Act. Accordingly, the companies are already familiar with Federal licensing and supervision, including by ASIC.

The companies' traditional activities will be now regulated under the Corporations Act.

As a result, trustee companies will be required to hold an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) that covers the provision of traditional services, and to meet the obligations of an AFSL, including conduct, disclosure, advice and dispute resolution.

This will greatly improve protections for consumers, including beneficiaries of trusts and estates.

Importantly, there will be a general obligation to disclose all fees, commissions and other charges via the Internet.

The Bill also establishes an innovative approach to the issue of trustee company fees, which in most jurisdictions are currently subject to regulation. For the first time, all fees must be fully disclosed to all of the Australian public via the internet. Overall, fee caps are to be removed and subject to market conditions, noting that new clients can only be charged the fees specified in the company's latest fee schedule, and existing contractual arrangements remain in place.

Finally, the level of fees charged to charitable trusts and foundations that are new clients of trustee companies will remain, for a period of two years, subject to regulation based on the fee regime set out in the Victorian Trustee Companies Act (1984). Charitable trusts that are existing clients will have their fee levels grandfathered to ensure no existing client fees rise as a result of the new regime.

These arrangements will be reviewed after two years.

At present, clients must bring their disputes before the relevant state or territory Supreme Court. This is costly and time consuming, and doubtless many clients are deterred from pursuing their disputes.

As part of the new laws, trustee companies will also need internal and external dispute resolution mechanisms, providing a simpler, cheaper way for consumers to resolve complaints, as an alternative compared to the high costs and delays involved in court action.

This will greatly improve consumer rights and enable them to have their complaints heard impartially, quickly and with little cost.

Directors' liability will be aligned with Corporations Act provisions, including those relating to managed investment schemes.

Trustee companies will still be allowed to hold common funds and will still be able to attract external investment into those funds, as this makes commercial sense.

The Government will of course be consulting specifically with the trustee companies industry and with the states and territories later this month.

I encourage anyone who is interested to contribute to this process, either directly or through the Trustee Corporations Association of Australia to make comment on these landmark reforms.

Debenture regulation

In Opposition, I watched with great concern as the Westpoint case unfolded.

At its heart was the use of debentures.

Unfortunately, again, the then Government did very little and, again, I am today announcing a regulatory reform that will stand to greatly improve consumer protection but this could have been and should have been done ten years ago.

Debentures are debt instruments used by the issuer to raise funds from investors in return for the payment of interest. Debenture issues are governed by a trust deed and a requirement for the appointment of a trustee who undertakes a range of investor protection functions on behalf of debenture holders.

A good many people who invested in these debentures have subsequently lost substantial amounts of money and, in some cases, their entire life savings.

Upon coming to office, the Rudd Government undertook a review of the debentures sector, particularly as it relates to investor protection.

The Financial Services Modernisation Bill does two key things to debentures following this work – namely it harmonises their regulation and establishes a public register of debenture trustees.


Currently there are differences in the regulatory regimes for promissory notes and debentures.

Promissory notes are very similar in function to debentures, however, they are regulated according to their value. Promissory notes issued with a value less than $50,000 are regulated as debentures; while promissory notes issued with a value greater than $50,000 are not subject to debenture regulation and treated as financial products.

Attempts have been made to exploit these differences in order to avoid the obligations imposed by the financial services laws, most notably in the case of Westpoint, which collapsed in 2005.

Following consideration of public submissions to our Green Paper of June 2008, the Bill released this morning provides that promissory notes issued to retail clients will be regulated as debentures, removing an anomaly in their regulatory regime dating back to the 1980s.

The regulatory regime includes important consumer protection measures such as requirements to have a trust deed and trustee arrangements and to issue a prospectus.

Register of debenture trustees

Additionally, the new laws will boost transparency in the debenture issuing sector for the benefit of investors by establishing a public register of debenture trustees, to be established and maintained by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

The register, which will be established during 2009, will be available for review by investors online. ASIC will shortly issue guidance for debenture trustees on the process for registration and the information required as part of this process.

Currently, debenture issuers are required to notify ASIC of the name of the trustee of a debenture issue when appointed.

However, this information is not currently kept on an official register and is therefore not available to investors.

The new register will require information about the trustee as follows:

the name of the trustee;

their ACN;

the name of the borrowing company, or debenture issuer;

the address and contact details of the issuer and trustee; and

the date of the appointment of the trustee.

The list will be publicly available and as with other registers, a fee will be charged.

Under provisions in the Corporations Act, debenture trustees are required to represent the interests of debenture holders in a range of ways.

These include exercising 'reasonable diligence' to ascertain whether funds will be available to repay borrowers and whether the borrower has breached the terms of the debentures or the provisions of the trust deed.

If a breach arises, the trustee is further required to do everything in its power to ensure that it is remedied.

The trustee is also required under law to notify ASIC of non‑compliance by the borrower with certain requirements of the Corporations Act and to advise debenture holders in relation to proposals that borrowers may put to holders' meetings.

The creation of a register of debenture trustees will add to transparency in this important area of retail fundraising by making publicly available a list of those who undertake these important responsibilities on behalf of investors in debentures.

Debenture and promissory note issuances are an important part of the Australian financial services landscape, but there have been several issues of concern.

Together, the harmonisation of protection and the new publicly available register of trustees will significantly enhance the level of consumer protection in an area of our financial services that needed reform.

These measures will provide a sound regulatory environment and strong consumer protection measures for all investors in debentures.


I started my comments this morning by discussing the concept from Finsia's report of the "perfect storm" and the momentous challenges we face, economical, environmentally and socially.

But this historical challenge confronts us with an equally momentous opportunity.

The opportunity before us is to take the road to an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future. We also have the chance to back this up with a 21st century regulatory environment.

The financial services industry plays a critical role in realising these opportunities.

This Government is delivering major reforms in financial services, both through the package I am releasing today, as well as the consumer credit package that was released last week.

The reforms in their entirety represent a major reshaping of financial services for Australia.

They will provide a better protection for all Australian consumers involved in financial services.

I thank you for your commitment and your leadership, the Government looks forward to continuing its close working relationship as the Industry incorporate ESG issues into its investment decision making.