ASIC is suing OnePath for allegedly charging $4 million in fees for no service.
In a statement on Wednesday, the corporate regulator said it has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against superannuation trustee OnePath for allegedly charging $4 million in fees to more than 18,000 fund members when it was not entitled to do so.
According to ASIC, from 15 December 2015, OnePath charged financial advice service fees totalling $3.8 million to 16,210 members who had been de-linked from their employer-sponsored superannuation plans.
OnePath is believed to have excluded information about adviser services fees, including a member’s right to terminate, from letters and annual statements, which it continued to send until May 2020.
Moreover, ASIC noted that OnePath also incorrectly charged financial adviser service fees totalling $502,667.18 to 2,508 members who did not have a linked plan adviser from December 2015 until about January 2019.
The corporate regulator found that this time OnePath informed members in their annual statements that it was entitled to deduct adviser service fees from their accounts and that they were obliged to pay.
As such ASIC has described OnePath’s behaviour as “false and misleading”, noting the trustee breached its obligations as a financial services licensee to provide services efficiently, honestly and fairly.
“Consumers must be able to trust they are being charged fees correctly by their superannuation providers. ASIC’s case alleges that OnePath failed to do so in this case,” said ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court.
ASIC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties and other orders from the Federal Court.
The date for the first case management hearing is yet to be scheduled by the court.
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