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Lawyers welcome Senate calls for inquiry into CBA

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Media Release

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Law firm Slater and Gordon has today welcomed calls from the Senate Economic Reference Committee for a possible Royal Commission or judicial inquiry into the conduct of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

Slater and Gordon lawyer Ben Hardwick said the Committee’s report raised serious concerns about the conduct of advisors and planners at the CBA and the adequacy of compensation arrangements subsequently entered into by the CBA.

Mr Hardwick said thousands of mum and dad investors lost their savings as a result of the inappropriate advice provided by CBA owned Financial Wisdom and Commonwealth Financial Planning.

“After an extensive inquiry the Committee has called for the establishment of a Royal Commission, judicial inquiry or some other form of compensation scheme.  We would fully support that,” Mr Hardwick said.

Queensland based lawyer Ben Whitwell said a number of mum and dad investors lost their savings through Meridien Wealth, a Cairns based financial planning company with ties to Financial Wisdom.

“Under a previous Enforceable Undertakings regime imposed by ASIC, some victims of poor financial advice received from Commonwealth Financial Planning were able to seek redress.

“However, as many as 4000 investors may not have had the same access to redress and some may have entered into inadequate arrangements. 

“ASIC is now planning on imposing a set of licence conditions which will give these people access to justice.

“Today’s report makes clear the reasons why such a plan is important” Mr Whitwell said.

“ASIC has accepted that information provided to many victims about their entitlement to access independent advice and documentation by CBA was inconsistent and unclear.

“This will be welcome news for all victims, especially victims of Financial Wisdom.

“If implemented the recommendations in the Senate Committee report would mean that they will have the opportunity to have their entitlement to compensation reviewed.

“While compensation will never give people back the money and the financial security they lost, it does allow them to begin rebuilding their lives.

 “In the aftermath of the GFC, Slater and Gordon has obtained millions of dollars for victims of poor financial advice from small and large financial institutions.

“We led the way in the establishment of a compensation scheme arising out of the collapse of Storm Financial,” Mr Whitwell said.