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Macquarie compensation process questioned

Class action law firm Maurice Blackburn has criticised Macquarie’s advice remediation process as “flawed”, arguing it should mimic the Commonwealth Bank’s Open Advice Review.

On Friday, ASIC announced that the investment bank has commenced writing to 160,000 former clients, inviting them to “raise concerns about the quality of advice” they received from Macquarie Private Wealth (MPW) advisers – a process agreed to under the terms of Macquarie’s enforceable undertaking with the corporate regulator.

However, while ASIC has welcomed the move, the law firm – which has received legal queries from 20 former clients of MPW seeking redress – anticipated that “customers may not be properly compensated” by the scheme, describing the announced process as “flawed”.

Maurice Blackburn partner and head of financial disputes John Berrill said Macquarie should look to CBA for inspiration.

“Macquarie needs to have a more robust compensation scheme, similar to the one Commonwealth Bank is working on. It looks like Macquarie’s customers will be treated like second class citizens,” Mr Berrill said.

“This goes back a decade and involves 160,000 clients."

"There is no detail around how information is to be exchanged, whether clients will be provided with copies of all the documents on their files and what systems are in place to communicate with clients whose contact details have changed.

“Random audits and independent oversight is another layer of quality control, but the value of this oversight will depend on its rigour. This won’t mean that all decisions of Macquarie will be reviewed," Mr Berrill said.

"Clearly they won’t. There is no time limit on how long the review process will take either, which was another criticism from the Senate inquiry.”