Australia budget lifts funding for financial regulators

CANBERRA, (Reuters) - The Australian government said it will increase funding of its two main financial-sector regulators in the wake of a year-long inquiry into banking misconduct, and will expand the Federal Court’s jurisdiction to include corporate crime.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will get an additional A$405 million ($288 million) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) budget will be increased by $152 million, budget papers showed on Tuesday.

The government said the ASIC money would help fund more enforcement actions, the embedding of staff at major institutions, and to deliver on an expanded mandate to monitor the superannuation sector.

APRA was expected to strengthen its supervisory and enforcement roles, including on “governance, culture and remuneration” and to enhance regulation of superannuation funds.

As well, the government will establish a Financial Regulator Oversight Authority, one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the financial sector, which will assess ASIC and APRA’s effectiveness on an ongoing basis.

The Federal Court of Australia will receive an extra A$35.5 million of funding to expand its jurisdiction to include corporate crime, the government said.

“To ensure that these reforms achieve lasting change, the government will establish an independent inquiry in three years that will assess whether industry has implemented the recommendations of the Royal Commission,” the budget papers said.

Reporting by John Mair; Editing by Swati Pandey