The last three weeks have crystalised a regulatory and accountability crisis for financial services: AMP lying to the regulator, that regulator admitting to enfeeblement, chairs and CEOs forced out, the CBA's culture damned by another regulator, its board and remuneration policies savaged, financial planning regulation exposed as a joke, speculation about the end of vertical integration. The dreaded phrase "burning platform" has been used about Australian banking.
For investors -- especially AMP investors, who've seen shares fall by around a fifth since the start of the year -- it's a deeply uncertain time. For citizens and consumers, it's frustrating that the loathing of the banks they've felt for so long has been justified. For politicians caught on the wrong side of the issue, it's required backflips, apologies, demands for corporate scalps and threats of further regulation. And for borrowers, it's likely to be the start of a period of significantly tighter lending standards that may well flow into the broader economy, which is heavily reliant on housing construction.