NAB has defended its wealth business following revelations that the bank has fired over 35 financial advisers and reimbursed 750 aggrieved clients in the past five years.
In a statement issued after 8pm on Friday night, NAB Wealth boss Andrew Hagger confirmed the bank has been engaged in a major financial advice compensation project over recent years, following allegations aired in the Fairfax newspapers.
“Over the past five years, we have compensated over 750 customers and paid out between $10 and $15 million in compensation in situations where we didn’t get it right the first time,” Mr Hagger said.
"We were transparent with this information, with our senior management team, the NAB Principal Board and our regulators.
“Where we have problems we face into them. When this has meant providing compensation to our customers who have received bad advice, we have done so.”
Mr Hagger encouraged employees to use the bank’s whistleblower service or to “reach out to the regulators” if dissatisfied with the internal process.
The comments follow a number of stories instigated by an internal NAB document leaked to Fairfax which suggests 31 NAB financial advisers have been fired in the past five years due to “conflicts of interest, inappropriate advice, inappropriate practices or serious repeat compliance breaches”.
An additional six advisers have been sacked from the NAB-aligned Meritum dealer group, according to newspaper reports.
The internal document allegedly makes reference to the scandal that was, at the time, engulfing its competitor the Commonwealth Bank.
"While there is no regulatory supervision or review required, the existence of these cases means there is the risk, should they come under political or media attention, that links could be made to the CBA situation," the Sydney Morning Herald reports the document as saying.
The revelations have reignited calls for a Royal Commission into the financial planning industry.
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