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Slater and Gordon has today announced it will Get Your Super Back in a campaign that will bring big bank-owned super funds to account, saying the funds owe Australians more than one billion dollars.

Slater and Gordon has today announced it will Get Your Super Back in a campaign that will bring big bank-owned super funds to account, saying the funds owe Australians more than one billion dollars.

Slater and Gordon will take on the banks on behalf of millions of Australians whose super funds may have been gouged by bank-owned super funds lining their pockets, through a series of class actions.

Commonwealth Bank-owned superannuation fund, Colonial First State, and AMP super will likely be the first targets in a series of legal actions.

The firm will allege the big bank-backed super funds failed to obtain for members competitive cash interest rates on cash option funds, and charged exorbitant fees, affecting millions of members who held part or all of their superannuation in bank owned funds.

The Get Your Super Back campaign, will aim to claw back money for Australians that may have been stripped by the big banks from their retirement savings. Slater and Gordon expects that up to one-third of all adult Australians may be eligible to join the actions.

The allegations arise from evidence to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Slater and Gordon Head of Class Actions Ben Hardwick said the fee gouging and paying out of un-competitive interest rates for Australians who hold part of their super in cash option funds may have set back the quality of retirement for many Australians.

“This means that millions of Australians may be out of pocket and a handful of banks have lined their pockets.

“Slater and Gordon doesn’t think that’s fair and we are saying, enough is enough.

"What funds like Colonial First State have been doing is dumping super with a parent bank such as CBA. The interest from the parent bank is so low that investors in the cash option are receiving rates as low as 1.25% a year. This is even below the RBA cash rate," said Mr Hardwick.

"This rate of return is ludicrously low. Standard bank interest should be around 2.0 to 2.5 per cent.

“That's what most banks offer to ordinary customers with their normal term-deposits. And that's what industry super fund members and some retail fund members have been getting.

“In the Royal Commission, it was revealed that some AMP super fund members were getting negative returns on the cash held for them by AMP.

"We don't believe there is any justification for a bank-owned fund member being worse off than industry fund members, especially when they have chosen to invest in a passive cash investment option, which requires the fund to do basically nothing.

"We think retail fund members should be compensated for the difference between their returns on cash, and the returns they should have received if the trustee had done their job properly. Industry funds have demonstrated the return that should be produced on cash investments when a proper effort is made by the trustee to secure the best available interest rate,” Mr Hardwick said.

“But, regardless of how you do the maths, when you entrust someone to manage your super – to manage the last 20-30 years of your life, so to speak – you expect that job to be in the hands of someone who you can trust: who you can rely on.

“Some of the bank-owned super funds have broken this trust with Australians. It’s been about lining their own pockets: about propping up their profits and undermining the entire scheme.

“On our calculations, fund members of Colonial and AMP combined have lost over a half billion dollars from their superannuation accounts. This will fundamentally degrade their retirement. We intend to bring class actions to recoup as much of this money as we can.”

Nathan Rapoport, Senior Associate said the claim could be extended to cover any fund with a cash component, where the cash was invested with the parent entity in the same way as Colonial.

“The potential damages from an extended claim would be very substantial, as it could encompass the vast majority of fund members," Mr Rapoport said.

Mr Hardwick said Australians should get behind the Get Your Super Back campaign to hold the banks accountable. .

"I urge every Australian who has been a member of a bank-owned fund to get onto GETYOURSUPERBACK.COM and register," Mr Hardwick said.

“It’s about time we stood up and said Australians are sick of being taken for a ride.

"We're happy the Royal Commission has exposed these dodgy practices, but we don't believe exposure is good enough.

“We now think it's time that Australians got their super back from the big banks."

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