The ACCC has included in its enforcement and compliance priorities for 2019 anti-competitive conduct and competition issues in the financial services sector, including issues with respect to foreign exchange services.
It has also prioritised the impact on consumers arising from the collection and use of consumer data by digital platforms, with a focus on the transparency of data practices and the adequacy of disclosure to consumers.
In a recent speech, ACCC Chair Rod Sims noted:
“In commenting on regulators, the Final Report of the Financial Services Royal Commission focussed on issues that were of primary concern to ASIC and APRA. However, an underlying theme of the Royal Commission final report was that competition is not vigorous among the major banks or in some parts of the financial sector.
We have had a unit that has been focussing on market studies in the financial sector for over a year. We have now established a Financial Services Competition Branch, which includes a permanent competition investigation team that complements the market studies team. This has also been enabled by the MYEFO Budget allocation we received.
We are expecting that team to complete a number of in-depth investigations potentially resulting in court proceedings, as well as providing support for the CDPP prosecution of ANZ, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and six senior officers.”
The ACCC has current inquiries in:
- Foreign currency conversion services
- Residential mortgage products prices
- Northern Australia insurance
The ACCC is expected to continue its aggressive enforcement approach in the areas of competition and consumer law.