Legal firm Piper Alderman has commenced a class action against AMP, CBA and Westpac for breaching consumer protection obligations stipulated in the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms.
Specifically, the legal action is being brought against the aforementioned financial services organisations with regard to commissions received from product providers and fees charged to clients alleging the practices contravened the law.
Further, Piper Alderman is particularly targeting dealer groups operating under the auspices of the three organisations, being AMP’s Hillross Financial Planning, AMP Financial Planning and Charter Financial Planning, the CBA-owned Commonwealth Financial Planning, Financial Wisdom and Count Financial, and Securitor and Magnitude, both part of Westpac.
“The FOFA reforms were designed to protect customers and the Piper Alderman claims will demonstrate these institutions’ failure to do just that. These claims have the prospect of recovering significant sums of money for a large number of individuals. On the institutions’ own numbers, over a million individuals may have been affected,” Piper Alderman partner Martin del Gallego said.
In initiating the lawsuit, Piper Alderman is encouraging consumers who acquired, renewed or continued to hold a financial product as a result of advice received from an authorised representative of the eight financial planning licensees named to register their details and be part of the action.
The firm pointed out these legal proceedings do not overlap with any other actions already underway.
Global litigation funder Woodsford Litigation Funding is financing the class action on a no-win, no-fee basis.
“In this era of increased focus on, and regulatory reform of, litigation funding in Australia, it bears remembering that class actions of this nature come about because of the serious misconduct of banks and other large corporations, including the misconduct that was exposed by the royal commission,” Woodsford chief investment officer Charlie Morris said.
“Woodsford is pleased to be backing Piper Alderman and to assist in affording these victims access to justice so that they can have their claims heard and receive the compensation they deserve.”
The development comes on the back of a separate class action being filed by authorised representatives of AMP-owned advisory groups against AMP Financial Planning over changes to buyer-of-last-resort arrangements and loss of jobs.