Howard Costello
John Howard and Peter Costello. Image credit: Paul Miller/AAP

While the banks, financial services companies, financial planners and ASIC come out badly from the financial services royal commission's interim report, there are others who fare poorly as well, but who have received little or no attention. Nonetheless, they are every bit as responsible for the way the Australian financial services industry has worked. They're not mentioned by name in the report, but they are John Howard, Peter Costello and the federal Treasury.

The report chapter on financial planning is good reading: a brisk history of the sector, how it operates, and the misconduct carried out by financial planners, licensees and our biggest financial institutions. And it makes some pointed observations about how the current regulatory framework developed.