ANZ to refund $30m in financial planning fees

16 April 2015 | Customers expected to receive $3500 for services undelivered.

Latest in a run of financial planning failures

ANZ has announced it will refund about $30 million to around 8500 clients of its financial planning business, Prime Access, who didn’t receive services they paid for between 2003 and 2013.

It’s the latest in a series of financial planning compensation schemes rolled out by Australia’s major banks – including CBA, NAB and Macquarie – following the disclosure of systemic issues that adversely affected clients of their financial planning divisions.

The majority of clients paid for the undelivered Prime Access service, an annual review detailing the status of their portfolios and any changes in asset allocation over the year, through their superannuation accounts, ANZ’s General Manager for Advice Neil Younger told CHOICE.

In total, clients paid about $3500 for the annual summary that never arrived over the ten year period, money that ANZ says it will now refund, including interest.

The payback is on offer because ANZ “did not meet its contractual documentation requirements”, Younger said, not because of inappropriate financial advice.

No harm done?

Younger maintains that the annual review, despite its cost, was not essential to ensuring the proper management of the clients’ portfolios, which were monitored on an ongoing basis. But he acknowledged that that some harm to portfolio performance may have occurred.

“At a macro level, we don’t believe there has been any detriment, but I can’t account for every individual,” Younger said.

ANZ Group Head of Government and Regulatory Rob Lomdahl said the bank aims to contact clients affected between 2011 and 2013 by September this year and to contact all affected clients by July 2016. In the meantime, current and former clients can make the first move.

“If a client has been disadvantaged, they can raise the matter with us,” Lomdahl said.

Prime Access clients can call the ANZ Prime Access enquiries team on 1800 789 458.

Won’t happen again

ANZ is currently working with ASIC on a refund methodology and says payments will start as soon as that’s figured out. 

“We have also put in place a range of measures to ensure this issue does not happen again. This includes improved training, technology, audit and supervision as well as including the documented annual review as an essential component of balanced scorecards for our financial planners,” ANZ CEO Global Wealth Joyce Phillips said.