Financial Services Royal Commission is a critical step in ending the practice of profits before people

8 April 2016
Federal Labor’s announcement today to hold a Royal Commission into the entire financial services sector if elected is a long overdue and welcome measure that must have bi-partisan support, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said today.

Maurice Blackburn Principal Kim Shaw said the broader industry had been plagued by scandals for years, most notably within the areas of life and total and permanent disability insurance, with hundreds of Australians falling victim to systems that routinely put profit before people.

“This is a long overdue, necessary and welcome measure,” Ms Shaw said.

“The personal costs of the industry’s behaviour for people affected – many who are highly vulnerable, under significant financial pressures or very unwell - cannot be overstated.

“Appalling scandals within the financial services industry and its treatment of people continue to mount, and a wide-ranging inquiry with the powers to properly call witnesses and gather evidence to crackdown on poor behaviour once and for all is urgently needed.

“For years we have represented people who have been burnt by large corporations within the financial services sector, who have repeatedly done the wrong thing by Australians.

“This includes companies knowingly taking insurance premiums from people for years in the knowledge a claim will never be successful, companies delaying and knocking back worthy claims, companies subjecting people to surveillance and bullying tactics and companies who have overseen people lose their entire life savings due to poor financial advice.

“And as recent media reports have shown, much of this behaviour has been deliberate and calculated on the part of companies and insurers.

“It is absolutely critical that all sides of politics support this Royal Commission.

“For too long the extent of the problems in this industry have been ignored or companies have been let off lightly, and Australians are sick and tired of profits being put ahead of people.

“We today welcome the announcement of a Royal Commission as a key step in leading to a much needed higher level of scrutiny and cleaning-up of the financial services sector, and we call for bipartisan support for this to restore fairness for people affected once and for all,” she said.

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