Law firm Slater and Gordon has welcomed news Macquarie Private Wealth will write to tens of thousands of its clients offering them an opportunity for their files to be reviewed and the possibility of compensation for their losses.
Commercial and Project Litigation lawyer Ben Hardwick said today’s Australian and Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announcement that Macquarie would write to 160,000 clients was a positive step.
“This is a brave move by Macquarie to open the doors to potentially thousands of compensation claims,” Mr Hardwick said.
“We are however concerned that any offers made will be extended on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis.
“Any investors dissatisfied with the offer they receive can only contest that offer if they are prepared to initiate an action at the Financial Ombudsman’s Service (FOS).”
Mr Hardwick said a purpose-built review scheme with experts solely focused on claims against Macquarie would be a more efficient solution.
“Such a scheme we believe would achieve outcomes for investors in a far shorter timeframe. FOS already has a heavy workload. We are concerned it will not have adequate resources to manage, in a timely way, what could potentially be tens of thousands of claims.”
Mr Hardwick said that it was important that investors obtain legal and/or financial advice to evaluate any offers made through the review.
A provision of $5000 has been made for investors to obtain this type of advice. In some instances, this will be adequate, but in others it will be grossly inadequate.
“There is a lot of work involved in analysing the difference between the position of an investor who received inappropriate advice and comparing that position to one where they received appropriate advice,’ Mr Hardwick said.
Slater and Gordon has represented thousands of Australians who have received poor financial advice and obtained millions of dollars of compensation for them.
The firm is also investigating claims on behalf of clients who received inappropriate advice from CBA owned Financial Wisdom and Commonwealth Financial Planning.