The emperor's old clothes

11 May 2018

The broken bits of Australian business life have been sticking out jaggedly from the otherwise silky-smooth performances at the Hayne royal commission. And not just at the commission: a new report from Australia’s prudential regulator adds more evidence of bad behaviour among bankers and advisers. There are signs the problems extend more widely.

Australia’s business culture, like its political culture, has acquired something of a production-line character. People who fit in easily and say the right things to the right people tend to get jobs they might not be well equipped to perform. Boards of directors and chief executives often appear more concerned to showcase the process of leadership than to practise it firmly and effectively. Processes are unguided by clear purposes, or are shaped by wilful ignorance. And the regulators have been slow to act.

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