Aussie bank shares soar as banking report goes softer than expected

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The Australian government is due to release on Monday the final recommendations of the independent inquiry that exposed systemic wrongdoing in Australia's financial sector a year ago, likely leading to sweeping changes to the country's banking industry.

While banks will face a tougher future with regulators empowered to crack down on wrongdoers, the 76 recommendations in the Royal Commission's final report were widely seen as a reprieve for the banks, which had been battered as the probe unearthed a string of scandals from charging fees for no service and pushing people into poorly-performing products to meet bonus targets.

The report made very strong criticisms of both regulators for failing to prevent malpractice in the industry.

NAB's shareholders delivered the biggest ever "no" vote on the bank's remuneration at the annual meeting last past year.

Regulators also needed greater oversight after they were accused of working too closely with the banks.

While he slammed the culture and recommended a number of tough new rules, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne stopped short of calling for banks to be forcibly broken up to separate financial advice and wealth management from day to day banking.

AFG managing director David Bailey said the review period offered an opportunity for the industry to promote "the clear benefits" of mortgage broking, which now accounts for 59 per cent of all home loans written in Australia.

"It's a scathing assessment of conduct driven by greed, which fell far below community expectations", Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. Among the wealth managers, AMP ((AMP)) is up 9.5% and IOOF Holdings ((IFL)) 13.9%.

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"At this stage, it does not appear to be the case".

The government is fighting for its survival with opinion polls suggesting an election victory for the centre-left Labour party.

Recommendation 1.6 adds, "Misconduct by mortgage brokers ACL holders should: • be bound by information-sharing and reporting obligations in respect of mortgage brokers similar to those referred to in recommendations 2.7 and 2.8 for financial advisers; and • take the same steps in response to detecting misconduct of a mortgage broker as those referred to in Recommendation 2.9 for financial advisers".

"We view the release of the final report as incrementally positive for the major banks", says Morgan Stanley, "because there were no unexpected, material, adverse outcomes".

"Having heard from both the CEO, Mr. Thorburn, and the chair, Dr. Henry, I am not as confident as I would wish to be that the lessons of the past have been learned", Commissioner Hayne said in his final report, released late Monday.

"That is, there remains a reluctance in some entities to form and then to give practical effect to their understanding of what is ethical, of what is efficient, honest and fair, of what is the right thing to do", the report said.

In another interview with Melbourne's 3AW radio station, Thorburn again admitted the bank had not fixed mistakes fast enough, but said it had put in changes "to put our customers first again" before the report was handed down.

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