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The collapse of Lehmann Brothers in 2008 marked the start of the global financial crisis (GFC). A post mortem on some of the reasons causing or contributing to that GFC threw up the following:

  • Modern legislators in the USA had relaxed laws and regulations put in place at the time of the Great Depression which had been designed to try to avoid a repetition of that dramatic event,
  • As a result, Trading banks had been able to merge with Retail banks giving them access to a larger pool of investor funds,
  • Housing mortgages were granted to people with little, if any, capacity to repay,
  • That wasn’t seen as such a problem if the expectation was that houses couldn’t go down in value, only up,
  • Those mortgages were then packaged up and sold as a new and attractive form of financial product, with the stamp of approval of major Ratings Agencies

Were any lessons actually learnt from the GFC, however? A cynic would say that the main lesson learnt by the large banks and financial institutions was that, while before the GFC they “hoped” that government couldn’t allow them to fail, after the GFC they actually knew it!

In essence, the GFC only emboldened them.

For us in Australia it was easy enough and convenient enough to conclude that we were different and things like that could only happen in other places such as the USA. Fast forward ten years, however, and a Royal Commission in Australia – one only reluctantly agreed to by the current government – has itself thrown up some startling events in modern Australian banking.

 Those events include:

  • Housing mortgages granted to people with little, if any, capacity to pay, enabling them to acquire houses in a falling market (where have we heard that before?),
  • “financial advice” given which was for the benefit of the financial institution providing it but not for the benefit of the clients receiving it and charged for it,
  • Charges for services not rendered at all, with such practice continuing for an extended period despite inquiry from the Regulator and assurances given to it,
  • An “independent report” to the Regulator going through multiple drafts before it was considered appropriate by the entity the subject of the report.

What is the real cause of the problems now being exposed in our banking and financial system? Is it structural (with lack of appropriate safeguards) or cultural?  While structural improvements should not be discounted, it is essentially a cultural issue. The desire for a culture within financial institutions based on what is good, fair, moral and ethical seems to have been supplanted by a chase for the dollar. The horse is out of the stable and getting it back is not easy. We must hope that it hasn’t completely bolted! Regulation is not the key to solution – fixing the culture is the major issue and steps must be taken by those institutions to do so.



Supporting Western Australian's for more than 100 years

"Always fast and thorough service. Thank you"

Sitka Pil

My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

I have no hesitation in recommending HHG to anyone caught up in the messy circumstances I found myself in at the time.

Great advice and five-star commitment to their client!!"

Nathan Lynch

"Thank you for such great assistance with the transaction of Flying Domestics on behalf of Lorna Good. It has been such a pleasure to work with the HHG Legal Group and I look forward to working with you in the future."

Jim Goodwin

"Simon Creek and his team were at all times empathic, professional and confident.  My matter needed to be addressed within a pressing time frame, and their availability at short notice and contact after hours was much appreciated.  It caused me considerable stress, but having such a thoroughly reliable and competent team to call on helped me to feel in control. Although I hope not to need their services again in future, I would be confident in doing so!"

Dr Lana Bell

"A good outcome is what we can expect.  A great outcome is a sign of a company which does the very best for their clients. A very big thank you to Daniel Morris for showing empathy towards my small and much needed legal action.

To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."

Jan Atkinson

"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."

Lynette Livesey

"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."

Nigel Plowman, Director at McKinley Plowman & Associates

"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."

Richard Beal, Director at BDO

"Over the last few years, I have been impressed by Simon’s legal ability, management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and people skills. He appears to be that rare breed of lawyer – both knowledgeable and commercial."

Michael Malone, Founder of iiNet

"Our family has been a client of HHG Legal Group over many years.  Business has included drawing up of wills for three generations and preparing of probate for my father in law. I would have no hesitation in recommending HHG Legal Group to anyone requiring such services."

Bernice Climie

"You should be congratulated for the manner in which your staff address clients and we found our dealings with your company, once again a very pleasant experience and we would like to truly thank you for your efforts."

Steve Harvey and Jane Powell

"HHG Legal were absolutely fantastic. Extremely responsive and brought calm to our chaotic family situation through their knowledge and caring attitude. Extremely professional from our very first contact with them and they expertly guided our family though the required legal process over almost a 12 month period."

Amanda Williamson

"Fantastic team! They really care about their client. Tim Colcutt is a 'go that extra mile' guy who gives his client his all. I can't recommend HHG and Tim enough."

Kerry Samson

"I had a fantastic lawyer in Anne Hurley. She helped me out a great deal with good, sound advice in a friendly, professional manner. First class, thanks Anne"

Graeme Hammond

"Marine Plant Systems has been working with HHG Legal Group for a few years now and they continually provide first-class service. Their professional advice has been invaluable to our company."

Carolin Grimm - Marine Plant Systems

"We were kept up to date at all times. Pricing was always updated over the time period so we remained "in budget". Personal access to someone whenever I had questions. All in all a great experience without too much fuss."

Rosslyn Tasker - COO AltusQ Pty Ltd

"Good service you can count on."

Miles Lee

"HHG Legal Group has provided outstanding support as I have taken the journey of buying a business, their professionalism is beyond reproach. Their assistance throughout the Due Diligence process has been invaluable, I would fully recommend them."

Mark Armitage

"Very friendly and efficient service - what a pleasure working with Anne."

Jacques Taylor

"I highly recommend Daniel from HHG Legal Mandurah. When dealing with a complicated legal property matter recently I was extremely impressed by Daniel's honesty and integrity and the legal advice I received. I am very happy with the service from HHG Legal."

Tony Walker

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