Ralph Norris blames CBA scandal on 'rogues'

JAMIE FREED AND JAMES EYERS
Last updated 09:56 14/07/2014
Sir Ralph Norris
Fairfax NZ
IN THE CHAIR: Kiwi Sir Ralph Norris ran one of Australia's largest banks for six years.

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Former Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief executive Ralph Norris has broken his silence over the bank's financial planning scandal, labelling the advisers involved as ''rogue people'' and denying any conspiracy to defraud customers.

The New Zealander, who ran CBA between 2005 and 2011, during which time the misconduct identified by a series of reports by Fairfax Media and a Senate committee report occurred, admitted to being aware of ''some of the problems'' while he was CEO and considered the compensation procedure as adequate.

''I thought that we had put in place the appropriate resolution for those problems,'' he said.

''Certainly I don't know the specifics of everything that has happened since I have been there.''

Earlier this month, CBA chief executive Ian Narev announced a new compensation process to determine whether the bad advice was more widespread.

Norris said regulation didn't always ''necessarily overcome dishonest people''.

''If laws and regulation solved everything, well, we wouldn't have the need for courts to handle anything like that,'' he said.

''It comes down to the fact that it is a case where, when you find these issues, you have got to look at your processes and systems and say, 'What can we do to prevent this from happening again?' That is going to be more effective than a piece of legislation.''

Narev made a similar point, saying regulators were not a substitute ''for leading an organisation well and ethically''.

Norris described CBA as ''a good organisation'' and said it was ''sad that there has been a situation where there have been some rogue people that have not done the right thing by the customers.

''Large organisations are always at risk potentially of having these sorts of things happen. You deal with it ... And certainly there is no way this is some form of conspiracy. It is just some deceitful people did some things that they should not have done.''

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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