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A Royal Commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry was always going to pose questions about the performance of the regulators responsible for supervising the industry. Questions were always going to be asked about why the misconduct occurred, and what role the Australian Prudential and Regulatory Authority (‘APRA’) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (‘ASIC’) played in discouraging it, in facilitating remediation of the victims of the misconduct and in punishing those responsible.

What surprised many observers was the intensity of the spotlight that was ultimately shone upon both APRA and ASIC. In a number of prolonged exchanges between senior executives of the regulators and Counsel Assisting in the public hearings it became clear that although primary responsibility for the misconduct would be laid squarely at the feet of industry participants, secondary responsibility would be laid at the door of both APRA and ASIC for failure to enforce the laws effectively against the transgressors.

What, then, did the final report have to say about APRA’s performance and what recommendations for change did it make?

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