This is the Final Report of the results of my inquiry, and the recommendations arising out of my inquiry, into the matters described in the Letters Patent dated 14 December 2017. It is to be read with the Interim Report I submitted to His Excellency the Governor‑General on 28 September 2018.
In Chapter 1 of my Interim Report, I refer to the establishment of the Commission and set out the Commission’s Terms of Reference. For ease of reference I have included the Letters Patent in Volume 3 of this Report.
I describe in Chapter 1 of the Interim Report, and need not repeat in this Report, the first steps taken in appointing staff, counsel and solicitors; the initial inquiries I made of financial services entities, industry associations, consumer advocacy groups and regulatory authorities about the matters that were to be the subject of inquiry; and the steps taken to gather submissions and information from the public. As is recorded elsewhere in this Report, members of the public submitted more than 10,000 complaints about financial services entities by using the Commission’s web‑form. In addition, there were many thousands of telephone calls and emails to the Office of the Royal Commission, some asking for help in making a complaint, some asking about the work of the Commission and some offering comments on the work that was being, or had been, done.
As also explained in Chapter 1 of the Interim Report, it was evident at the outset of the Commission’s work that not every case could be investigated or examined in the course of public hearings. To investigate, let alone hear evidence about, every case would have taken many years. Choices had to be made. The cases that were chosen were selected as reasonably illustrative of the kinds of conduct about which members of the public had complained. Inevitably, those not chosen are disappointed.
Much of the work of the Commission has been done outside the hearing room. Choosing case studies required solicitors and counsel assisting to examine in detail many more cases of alleged relevant conduct than those taken as case studies in hearings. Many hours were spent, hundreds of complaints and thousands of documents were examined, before choosing what cases would be the subject of public hearings.
Other work done outside the hearing room included the preparation of background and research papers. Some of those papers were published in Volume 3 of the Interim Report; the balance of them appear in Volume 3 of this Report.
The Interim Report sets out the findings I made in respect of case studies considered during the first four rounds of the Commission’s public hearings.
I conducted three other rounds of public hearings:
- between 6 August 2018 and 17 August 2018 – concerning superannuation;
- between 10 September 2018 and 21 September 2018 – concerning insurance; and
- between 19 November 2018 and 30 November 2018 – taking evidence from some CEOs, board chairs and the heads of ASIC and APRA concerning policy and other questions that I had raised in my Interim Report.
This Report sets out, in Volume 2, the findings I make in respect of case studies considered during the rounds of hearings concerning superannuation and insurance.
Behind the whole of the Commission’s work, and this Final Report, lies the work of very many people: as advisers or consultants, as members of the staff of the Office of the Royal Commission, as Solicitors Assisting the Commission, and as Counsel Assisting the Commission. Their names are set out in Volume 3. I am deeply grateful to every one of them for all that they have done so willingly, diligently and skilfully.