The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released a discussion paper on its proposals to publish data on general insurance business handled by insurance intermediaries, or brokers.   

APRA and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced the collection of intermediated insurance data in December 2009.

Under current laws, general insurance intermediaries must report all insurance contracts and provide additional details on insurance placed with unauthorised foreign insurers (UFIs).

The Australian Financial Review has reported that money owed to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) by bankrupt individuals and insolvent companies has rocketed by 20% to nearly $5 billion over the last year, with concerns that the ATO's new strict debt recovery and economic uncertainty may push more taxpayers into the red.

The Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten has announced transition arrangements to the new Produce Disclosure Regime that will come into effect next year.

International recruitment and consultancy firm Michael Page has released its Salary & Employment Forecast, showing that the financial services sector is growing on the back of increased business confidence.  

Research conducted by the University of Exeter Business School in the United Kingdom shows that that the Australian government’s Innovation Investment Fund allows start-up companies more scope for follow-on investments and has significantly contributed towards the supply of high-potential businesses.

Statistics published the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that retail turnover has increased by 1.1 per cent in April 2011, after the sector experienced a 0.3 per cent contraction in March.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer David Bradbury have released an options paper setting out a pathway for regulatory reform of Australia's insolvency industry.

Legislation has been introduced to Federal parliament to ensure that capital gains and franked distributions can continue to be 'streamed' through trusts.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released a consultation paper on the form and content of the compliance report that each of Australia’s credit rating agencies must lodge with ASIC annually as part of moves to help boost the integrity and standards of Australia’s financial system.

Consultation Paper 160
Credit rating agencies: IOSCO Code Annual Compliance Report (CP 160) proposes implementing reporting requirements for credit rating agencies (CRAs) concerning their compliance with obligations on matters such as the quality and integrity of their ratings process, conflicts of interest management and the transparency and timeliness of ratings disclosure.

ASIC Chairman, Greg Medcraft, said the proposals – which are the subject of consultation with industry – are aimed at requiring CRAs to detail how they’ve met their licence conditions, which include complying with the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) Code of Conduct Fundamentals for CRAs.

‘ASIC sees establishing reporting standards, together with setting Australian financial services (AFS) licence conditions and ongoing industry-wider surveillance, as its core regulatory tools in supervising CRAs,’ Mr Medcraft said.

‘Reporting by CRAs helps give ASIC, and therefore the broader market, insight into the operations of CRAs and as such, some degree of reassurance to investors in the integrity of issued credit ratings.’

Specifically, the proposed reporting requirement would require CRAs to provide a narrative description of any implemented or planned measures that have the aim of ensuring compliance with eleven obligations referrable to the IOSCO Code and the CRAs’ AFS licence conditions.

'We consider that the information reported in the compliance report will provide ASIC with a form of comfort that the CRAs have measures in place designed to ensure that they comply with their obligations, at a reasonable compliance cost to CRAs,’ Mr Medcraft said.

Consultation with industry on the proposals in the paper will continue until 13 July 2011, after which ASIC will consider implementing the reporting requirement, taking into account the results of the consultation.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is unlikely to announce an interest rate increase at its June meeting this week, according to a report in The Financial Review.

One of Australia’s largest insurance agencies, AAMI, has announced it will shut its 24 offices nationwide and move to a purely online service model.

A new white paper by Retail Employees Superannuation Trust (REST) Industry Super has found that many Australians are abandoning the dream of owning their own home, predicting that 25% of Australians may not own their own home when they retire in 25-35 years compared to 15% today.

The increasing current account deficit, the discrepancy between the value of goods imported and that of goods exported, is widening according to recent findings. The continued widening of the country’s terms of trade can be considered an indicator to a possible drop in gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.

The secretary-general of the world’s largest banking regulatory group, the Basal Committee for Banking Supervision, has warned of the inevitability of another global financial crisis.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has ruled that the seven university shareholders of Australia’s Open Universities association will not have their dividends taxed.

Resourcehouse has announced its first initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong securities exchange, launching in initial share sale of $3.37 billion ($HK 28.12 billion). 

Rural and regional small-to-medium businesses (SMEs) are growing faster than their metropolitan counter-parts thanks to the influx of funds from the mining boom, disaster recovery funding and good agricultural output, according to a monthly economic report released by the ANZ.

ANZ has announced the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) which outlines intent to co-invest in the future development of trade and energy, infrastructure and engineering projects in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region.

Out-of-cycle rate increases are a possibility if Standard & Poors continues with its intended overhaul of its lending system, according to reports.

The Federal Government’s push for the establishment of a carbon tax has been significantly bolstered following the release of a new climate change report.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has published its findings on the ‘social impact of misconduct in the financial services industry’.

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