CBA, Hostplus face superannuation inquiry

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Linda Elkins is one of several banking executives scheduled to appear at the royal commission.Australia’s largest bank faces questions over the way it has distributed superannuation products to customers at a royal commission.
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The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ANZ have both changed the way they distribute the products as part of court-enforceable undertakings with the regulator, made ahead of the financial services royal commission’s superannuation hearing.

Senior executives from CBA’s wealth management arm Colonial First State, including its executive general manager Linda Elkins, are scheduled to appear at the royal commission on Tuesday with ANZ representatives expected to be called later this week.

The changes by CBA and ANZ follow concerns raised by Australian Securities and Investments Commission about super products being offered through bank branches at the conclusion of a fact-finding process about customers’ overall banking arrangements.

ASIC said it was concerned the proximity between the fact-finding process and the discussion about superannuation was leading CBA and ANZ staff to provide personal advice to customers about super, when they were only authorised to provide general advice.

CBA stopped selling its essential super product in branches last October while ANZ has changed the way its smart choice super is sold.

It is not clear if CBA will face further questioning after being labelled “the gold medallist” for charging fees for no service during the royal commission’s April hearing into financial advice.

CBA has charged more fees for no service than the other major banks and AMP, with the regulator’s latest industry report estimating its total compensation over the issue at $143 million.

The opening day of the superannuation inquiry heard CBA, AMP and IOOF had acknowledged fees-for-no-service conduct that barristers assisting the royal commission believed must have affected the trustees of the super funds within their retail groups.

The CEO of industry super fund Hostplus, David Elia, is also scheduled to give evidence on Tuesday.

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