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Westpac faces court over fiduciary duty failures

ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings against two Westpac subsidiaries for potential contraventions of FOFA compliance requirements.

The corporate regulator has today announced proceedings in the Federal Court against Westpac Securities Administration Limited and BT Funds Management Limited.

The proceedings follow an ASIC investigation into Westpac’s telephone sales campaigns, which target superannuation fund members.

ASIC alleges that during two telephone campaigns, WSAL and BTFM provided personal financial product advice to customers, specifically recommending they move their other super funds into their Westpac related super accounts.

WSAL and BTFM are not permitted to provide personal financial product advice under their AFSLs, ASIC said, and they allegedly did not undertake proper comparison of the superannuation funds as required by law.

Further, ASIC alleges that WSAL and BTFM “failed to do all things necessary to ensure that the financial services covered by their licences are provided efficiently, honestly and fairly”.

They also “failed to comply with the conditions of their licences which only permits those licensees to provide general advice and failed to comply with the financial services laws in the Corporations Act”, ASIC said.

ASIC and Westpac will continue to cooperate to limit the facts in dispute in the proceedings, ASIC said.


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