Tuesday, March 3, 2009

ASIC Summer School

imageI see the ASIC Summer School is on again.  No doubt the term “summer school” means different things to different people but in my mind it’s indelibly associated with just one thing – you failed your year-end exams but have a chance of redemption via summer school and the dreaded supplementary exams.  Perhaps that’s appropriate in this case.

Hopefully they’ll publish the papers from this thing, as there’s one or two items that we’d like some clarification on, such as:

        • - the financial crisis: what went  wrong and what we’ve learned
        • - have the International Financial Reporting Standards survived their first important test?

The first day of the conference generated some very astute observations from a couple of ANZ heavies who were present:

Mike Smith, CEO. "Banks should be boring," Mr Smith said. "Banks have got quite interesting recently and they shouldn't be in that space."

Ian MacFarlane, Director.  Mr Macfarlane said banks in Europe and the US were inadequately regulated, and resorted to increasingly risky measures to boost profits because they constantly feared being taken over by their rivals.  Australian banks did not have to aggressively chase risk to the same extent because they were protected from being taken over, he said.  This point relates to a (unintended?) consequence of the four pillars policy, which prevented consolidation among the top four banks.

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