Posted November 30, 2018 09:33:00 Australian banks are facing fresh scrutiny as part a crackdown on financial crime after the Federal Court ruled the banks must register their assets and comply with disclosure laws.
The Federal Court has ordered the banks to disclose their balance sheets as part the crackdown, with a view to helping investors better understand their companies’ finances.
The banks had previously been forced to do the same.
The High Court has also found that banks need to publish the amount of the money they hold in reserve and how much of it is held offshore.
The move is part of a larger crackdown on the financial sector which has seen more than 500,000 Australians convicted of financial crimes since the global financial crisis.
In its judgement, the High Court said the banks need not register the assets of their customers but they must be transparent about how they manage the funds and whether there is any evidence they can be trusted.
The ruling was handed down on Thursday.
The government has said the new disclosure laws will allow for a clearer picture of the financial health of Australia’s banks.
“Banks must publish a detailed and complete list of their financial assets and liabilities,” Treasury Secretary Scott Morrison said.
“If there is significant risk to the public or to the banks, there is a duty to disclose the assets and the liabilities, including the financial position of the institution, and the reason why.”
Mr Morrison said the changes would “make it easier for people to understand the state of the banks’ financial health”.
The Government has also released a “comprehensive disclosure scheme” which will require the banks and their clients to disclose financial information about themselves, including assets and their liabilities.
The scheme will allow businesses to check whether their accounts are under audit or are subject to other restrictions.
It will also include measures for companies to disclose if they are subject, for example, to foreign tax rules.
It has also been proposed that a company that is in liquidation could be required to report on the amount in its liquidation bank accounts to the Australian Taxation Office.
The Government will also look at other financial transparency measures including requiring banks to share information with third parties on the use of customer accounts and making financial information more easily available to the community.
Topics: banking, government-and-politics, federal—state-issues, federal-parliament, courts-and -trials, australia, sydney-2000, vic