ASIC takes Westpac to court over ‘best interests duty’
The corporate regulator has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against two Westpac subsidiaries for failing to comply with the best interests duty.
ASIC announced today that it has commenced civil penalty proceedings 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 co-operate to limit the facts in dispute in the proceedings, ASIC said.
The first hearing for the proceedings will be on 2 February 2017 at 9.30am in the Federal Court in Sydney.
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