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Slater and Gordon, Westpac reach $29.5m settlement in BT class action

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National law firm Slater and Gordon and banking giant Westpac have reached an agreement in the class action against the bank’s subsidiaries, BT Funds Management Limited and Westpac Life Insurance Services Limited.

In 2019, Slater and Gordon filed a class action as part of its Get Your Super Back campaign, alleging that members who invested in the BT Super for Life cash-only option received lower returns because BT invested their funds through Westpac Life, allowing Westpac Life to earn fees without providing a valuable service.

Slater and Gordon special counsel Nathan Rapoport said, “The case alleged BT prioritised Westpac Life’s profits over its duty to seek the best returns available for its members’ retirement savings, leading to lower returns for members”.

“Superannuation members trust their funds with their retirement savings and place their faith in them to protect their future,” he said.

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The settlement, which has been reached on a “no admissions” basis, with both BT and Westpac Life denying any liability, is for $29.5 million and is subject to approval from the Federal Court of Australia.

It was negotiated on behalf of customers who had invested their super in the BT Super cash option between 2007 and 2019. As a result, the firm said in a statement that tens of thousands of Australians may receive compensation.

The news follows the reaching of settlements in multiple consumer credit class actions against CBA, ANZ and Westpac, in agreements totalling $126 million, pending court approval.

Speaking about the settlement, Mr Rapoport said: “We are pleased this settlement means that group members will be getting millions of dollars of compensation.”

“This result would not be possible without a class actions regime that allows one person to represent the interests of thousands of others like them who might not even be aware of their legal rights.”

In a statement provided to Lawyers Weekly, Westpac confirmed that the bank has agreed to settle the proceedings relating to a former cash investment option of BT Super for Life and that the aforementioned settlement amount “was included in our 30 September 2022 provisions”.

As reported by InvestorDaily’s sister brand, ifa, in May, Westpac and BT Funds Management agreed to merge BT’s personal and corporate superannuation funds with Mercer Super.

Slater and Gordon, Westpac reach $29.5m settlement in BT class action

National law firm Slater and Gordon and banking giant Westpac have reached an agreement in the class action against the bank’s subsidiaries, BT Funds Management Limited and Westpac Life Insurance Services Limited.

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.

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