The Council of Financial Regulators (CFR) comprises two representatives – the agency head and another senior representative – from each of the four member agencies. The Chair is the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), and the RBA provides the CFR Secretariat. Other representatives of CFR agencies attend meetings as appropriate.
Other regulatory bodies are invited to attend discussions relevant to their respective mandates. For example, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) have all participated. In addition, a separate annual meeting of CFR members and other regulatory agencies with an interest in the financial sector was instigated in 2017, including representatives of the ACCC, AUSTRAC and the ATO.
The CFR meets quarterly, or more often if required. At these meetings the four member agencies share views and information, and discuss regulatory reforms or issues where responsibilities overlap. They also share their assessment of, and coordinate responses to, any threats to financial stability. Where appropriate, the CFR also provides joint advice to the Government on current regulatory issues or the regulatory framework more broadly. As the secretariat, the RBA works to ensure the CFR operates effectively. This includes liaising with members to determine the agenda for CFR meetings and reaching out to non-member government agencies for their participation as appropriate.
Between quarterly meetings, the work of the CFR is facilitated through various working groups. These groups progress work on specific topics or policy reforms. They develop papers for discussion that may include working group-level advice on whether the CFR should support a particular position. The working groups are established either on an ongoing or temporary basis. Typically, each working group carries out work based on agreed terms of reference, which set out the group’s scope of work, objectives and, where appropriate, timelines. Groups usually consist of representatives from each of the four CFR agencies, though non-member agencies with appropriate expertise participate in some groups.
Key groups include the Financial Market Infrastructure (FMI) Steering Committee, which helps to coordinate monitoring and policy formulation in relation to FMIs and over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets regulation, and the Crisis Management Working Group, which seeks to establish policies and cross-agency processes for the effective management of distressed financial institutions. The Housing Market Risk Working Group coordinates and discusses analysis of developments in the housing market. Other working groups cover issues such as distributed ledger technology, competition and cyber security.