The buck stops where?

The Financial Services Royal Commission and recent APRA findings have laid out the blame game. There are calls for clarity, consequences, and greater rigour. Are these increased expectations of Australian Directors unreasonable, or do directors simply need to catch up with the rest of the globe?

While the findings may not come as a surprise to industry insiders, the public has been justifiably surprised and disappointed. What we need to remember is that, for the public, this is the first time they are seeing such detailed activity and conduct brought to light. Customers naturally want to know how mistakes were made and who was – or will be – held accountable. In financial services specifically, the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) provides a welcome motivation for action on accountability, but there are still a lot of grey areas, particularly around end-to-end processes. To remove any notion of ambiguity on accountability, corporate Australia must face into the tough scenarios that are occurring, and be passionate about resolving them.

Key areas of focus for Boards in the months and years ahead when it comes to Accountability include:

  • Clarity of role and consequences
  • Removing ambiguity and validating role comprehension
  • Add or redefine Board committees
  • Address the toughest scenarios 
  • Simplify the landscape
  • Look beyond the Board and Executive teams
  • Enforce consequences throughout the organisation and follow-through

Board skills now greater required:

  • Agility to change with confidence
  • Ability to make faster decisions, closer to customer
  • Rapid resolution of trade-offs
  • Willingness to take and manage risk
  • Enterprise-wide thinking


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Contact us

Peter van Dongen

Peter van Dongen

Chairman, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 8266 3378

Colin Heath

Colin Heath

Banking and Capital Markets Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 0137

Sam Garland

Sam Garland

Banking & Capital Markets Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 0639

Mike Codling

Mike Codling

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: 612 8266 3034

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