ANZ has terminated 16 financial advisers over the past 12 months, including two who actively misled the bank’s internal investigation into the Prime Access service.
ANZ chief executive of global wealth Joyce Phillips and ANZ deputy chief executive Graham Hodges appeared before the Senate Scrutiny of Financial Advice inquiry in Canberra yesterday.
The public hearing follows ANZ's announcement on Friday of a $30 million reimbursement project for more than 8,500 former clients who did not receive all the services they paid for.
Specifically, some of ANZ's 'Prime Access' customers did not receive documented annual reviews.
Asked about the bank's internal investigation, Ms Phillips said the matter was first reported to ASIC in August 2013.
"As the first step, we ascertained that all of our customers were in suitable portfolios for their risk appetite," Ms Phillips said.
"Then we made sure that we established current annual reviews that were up to date ... all the while having an open dialogue with ASIC," she said.
ANZ, along with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Clayton Utz, began undertaking file reviews going back to the beginning of the Prime Access services in 2004, Ms Phillips said.
"During the course of these reviews we asked advisers to assist us with these reviews," she said.
"[We asked them] to self confess where they hadn’t delivered those annual reviews to help us speed up the process that has taken quite some time.
"And we found two advisers that did not provide us with honest answers to the questions we asked to support the investigation, and that’s why they were dismissed," she said.
ANZ reported six 'significant breaches' to ASIC in the past 12 months.
Three of those significant breaches were related to "advice matters"; two were related to the Prime Access; and one was a "behavioural issue", she said.
However, a total of 16 advisers were terminated for "behaviours that range from cultural differences, inappropriate behaviours, through to the serious compliance breaches", Ms Phillips said.
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