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Landmark FSR Bill through Senate.

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NO. FSR/064

Landmark FSR Bill Through Senate

The Minister for Financial Services & Regulation, Joe Hockey welcomed the passage of the landmark Financial Services Reform Bill through the Senate today.

"The final major part of the 1997 Wallis Report has now been implemented. It completes the major reforms of the financial services industry," the Minister said.

"The Financial Services Reform Bill is a revolutionary piece of legislation that fundamentally restructures an industry that contributes around 7 per cent to the Australian economy, and employs 330,000 Australians."

The Bill proposes three key reforms.

A harmonised licensing, disclosure and conduct framework for all financial service providers. ● A consistent and comparable framework for financial product disclosure. ● A streamlined regulatory regime for financial markets and clearing and settlement facilities. ●

For consumers, the Bill will:

introduce a consistent framework of consumer protection across the financial services industry. ● help consumers understand and compare different financial products. ● ensure that consumers have access to efficient complaints handling procedures for resolving disputes with financial service providers. ●

For industry the Bill will:

cut compliance costs and remove regulatory barriers to the introduction of technological innovations. ●

provide a boost to e-commerce by facilitating the electronic delivery of a range of financial services and products. ●

"Over the past three years, the Government has consulted widely on this Bill and we are grateful to everyone who took the time and trouble to provide us with feedback.

"Consultation is the key to getting it right. Industry, consumers and Government have worked together to build a first-class regulatory regime and I want to thank those who provided constructive feedback on the reforms.

"I am aware in my role promoting Australia as a centre for global finance, that many other jurisdictions are looking to our model for their own regulatory reform.

"Changes have been made to a range of provisions to make sure they will be workable in practice and to

make sure business imperatives and consumer protection objectives can be achieved together.

"I know that many industry players have expressed concern about the time they will need to gear up for the FSR regime - to make systems changes, train staff, print documentation and so on.

"The Government is keenly aware of the need to give industry significant time to comply with the new regime. For this reason, I will hold a Roundtable with the Implementation Consultative Committee [see media release, FSR No.58] in Canberra next week".

"The Government has every right to be proud of the FSR Bill. These reforms will help the Government pursue its plan of developing Australia into the leading financial services centre in the Asia Pacific.

"When operational the Bill will lead to stronger growth in the financial sector, and more choice for all consumers of financial services."


23 August 2001

Media contact: Matthew Abbott, 02 6277 7230, 0413 076213