The Federal Court has ordered superannuation trustee OnePath Custodians to pay a $5 million penalty for making false or misleading representations about its right to continue charging fees, and for failing to provide services to members efficiently, honestly and fairly due to its misleading conduct and by deducting fees when not entitled to do so.
In an update from ASIC, it said this is the second fees for no service-related penalty decision obtained by ASIC within a week after Mercer Financial Advice was penalised $12 million for charging fees to customers it was not entitled to do.
The court found that between December 2015 and November 2021, OnePath made false or misleading representations to members of the superannuation product ‘Integra Super’ about adviser service fees and deducted $3.8 million in fees from members for advice services they did not receive.
OnePath told members they had to pay a fee for advice from a ‘Plan Adviser’ even after the member had been transferred to a division of Integra Super where they were not entitled to receive advice services.
OnePath also misled members by representing that:
- The member had agreed to the fee, when it had been agreed between the Plan Adviser and the member’s former employer; and
- The negotiation of the fee was a matter for the member’s former employer and the Plan Adviser, even though the member had their own right to cancel the fee.
During this period, OnePath issued letters to approximately 766 members and annual statements to approximately 15,962 members, containing the false or misleading representations.
OnePath admitted to the conduct and agreed to a penalty of $5 million. The court also ordered OnePath to publish a notice on its website regarding the breaches.