Suncorp has agreed to pay $33 million to settle a class action brought by superannuation members in 2019 in relation to advice charges used to pay conflicted remuneration to financial advisers.
The action, brought by William Roberts Lawyers on behalf of Suncorp Super Fund members, alleged Suncorp Super executed agreements to entrench fees or commissions to advice licensees that would otherwise have been unlawful or unenforceable under the Future of Financial Advice reforms which came into effect July 1, 2013.
A copy of the pleading says that “conflicted remuneration” refers to any commission paid to financial services licensees in relation to Suncorp products, including commissions on contributions, ongoing commissions paid on account of balances of member accounts, commissions on insurance premiums and amounts paid on the total amount of funds that licensees introduced to Suncorp.
The term also refers to any benefit given to a licensee who provided product advice to retail clients who “could reasonably be expected to influence the choice of financial product recommended by the licensee” and the financial product advice given.
Plaintiff Kerry Michael Quirk, and each of the group members, said they suffered a loss or damage in the form of the excess fees paid to fund the conflicted remuneration, which thereby reduced their super balances.
The class action’s claim refers to actions made between July 1, 2013 and June 21, 2019.
Of the $33-million settlement revealed on July 26, about $19 million will be used to cover costs incurred over the course of the class action.
The settlement is still to be the court, with an approval hearing scheduled for September 22. If it is not approved, the case will continue.
Anyone who was or remains a member of a Suncorp superannuation has until August 31 to register to be part of the class action group if they think their super account may have been impacted.
Suncorp Portfolio Services was acquired by LGIAsuper in April 2021 and is now of the Brighter Super Group.