Banks' day of shame could have been worse
Imagine how much worse Australian banking's day of shame would have been if Kenneth Hayne QC suggested they be prosecuted for breaking the law.
The banking royal commissioner has delivered a scathing assessment of the greed and dishonesty in the banking, financial advice and wider financial services industries.
But his interim report stops short of delivering his own findings of misconduct or referring financial services entities for civil or criminal prosecution.
Mr Hayne set out his conclusions about the case studies examined during the first four of six public hearings, but notes they have no binding or enforceable effect.
He is not a court conducting a trial, he said in agreeing that a conclusion that there might have been misconduct should not be reached lightly.
"The conclusions that I express in my reports (interim and final) may have grave consequences. Allegations of misconduct are serious."
Mr Hayne only went so far as to say particular conduct amounted to misconduct if the bank or financial services entity concerned acknowledged what happened did amount to misconduct.
In the case of AMP, Mr Hayne has left it in ASIC's hands as to whether it takes up counsel assisting the commission's suggestion that the wealth manager face criminal charges for lying to the regulator.
But the big banks, AMP and others may not be completely off the hook.
Mr Hayne may be saving his knockout blows for his final report, due by February 1.
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