Suncorp Facing Class Action Over Superannuation Fees

Suncorp’s superannuation division has become the latest target of a class action against financial players, as the number of legal cases stemming from the Hayne royal commission increases.

William Roberts Lawyers and class action financier Litigation Capital Management are working to lodge proceedings against Suncorp Portfolio Services, the firms said in a statement. The case relates to commissions paid to financial advisers.

The Suncorp division is a trustee responsible for the administration of super funds.

The case against Suncorp is being brought to recover compensation on behalf of members whose accounts were affected by commissions Suncorp paid to fin­ancial advisers from July 1, 2013. The charges are alleged to be in breach of rules banning commission payments on financial products because they encouraged conflicts of interest.

“The class action will allege Suncorp super executed agreements to entrench fees that would otherwise have become unlawful or unenforceable. In doing so, the action will allege that Suncorp super breached its duties to avoid conflicts, act with due care and diligence and act in the best interest of its members,” the firms’ statement said.

A company spokeswoman said: “Suncorp is not aware of any action that has been issued against Suncorp Portfolio Services Limited.”

The class action, which appears to still be recruiting participants, will draw on a ban of conflicted pay under the Future of Financial Advice Reforms (FoFA) from mid-2013.

Principal of William Roberts, Bill Petrovski, said his firm believed Suncorp super members were “wrongfully stripped” of money to pay commissions and other fees to financial advisers.

“Those moneys should now be repaid,” he said.

Other financial groups have also been the subject of class actions over the past 12 months.

Last month, Maurice Blackburn beat three other law firms to win a judicial “beauty parade” for the right to run a shareholder class action against AMP.

Insurance Australia Group was hit with a class-action lawsuit in April over the sale of junk add-on car and motorcycle insurance by subsidiary Swann Insurance over the past decade.

Wealth group IOOF is also in the crosshairs of a class action. It is being spearheaded by law firm Quinn Emanuel over allegations the company failed to disclose serious regulatory issues.


By Joyce Moullakis - Joyce is a senior banking reporter. Prior to joining The Australian, she worked as a senior banking and deals reporter at The Australian Financial Review.

The Australian

4 June 2019

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