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The CBA Financial Planning Scandal Is Spreading

Getty/Scott Olson

The AFR reports this morning that the CBA financial scandal is spreading, with Macquarie now accused of “not co-operating with the Senate committee that delved into unethical financial planning ­practices at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.”

Senate Committee chairman Mark Bishop says that Macquarie has its own “systematic problems” but when the Senate made inquiries they were told to buzz off.

Bishop told the AFR:

Arising out of confidential infor­mation provided to us, we wrote to Macquarie asking them to address the significant number of complaints we received. They wrote back and politely told us to mind our own business.

That’s a not unfamiliar approach for Australian bankers when questioned about – well, anything – in the first instance.

But in the same way that as the maelstrom engulfing the CBA was given life by Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev’s absence and then response, so to this approach by Macquarie seems to have attracted more, not less, attention from politicians.

The AFR reports National Senator John Williams said:

There are a lot more questions for Macquarie Wealth to answer and they need to look pretty hard in the mirror in terms of their compliance.

We had individuals from Macquarie give evidence to us in camera, which unfortunately we are not able to discuss. But needless to say, there are still serious questions for them to answer.

These questions are not going to go away but they continue to appear “immaterial” to CBA boss Narev, who said yesterday:

When you are thinking about reputation as a chief executive, you really want to be thinking about the long term and that’s why we never want to take events that may have reputational impact at all lightly.

This is straight out of the Australian bankers’ crisis playbook – ignore, deny, not material.

But with $1.5 trillion in Australia’s superannuation pool this financial planning scandal is too important to let the bankers set the agenda and decide what questions to respond to.

You can read more here

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