The Complete Guide to Getting Your Refund for Dodgy Financial Advice & ' Fees FOR NO SERVICE'
Joel Gibson, Consumer Expert
WHAT ARE ‘FEES FOR NO SERVICE’?
ARE YOU A VICTIM? AND HOW DO YOU GET A REFUND?
Over the past 10-15 years, the big banks, major superannuation funds and wealth management companies are likely to have charged billions of dollars in fees for financial advice we never received.
These fees were often automatically deducted from our bank accounts or super funds, sometimes without our knowledge.
The 2018 Banking Royal Commission exposed this national scandal and said that more needed to be done regarding these businesses refunding the “Fees for no Service” they’ve collected over the years.
“Charging for what you do not do is dishonest. Although this should have been obvious to everyone, the practice of charging ‘fees for no service’ has been endemic in the financial advice industry.”
Royal Commissioner Justice Kenneth Hayne QC
The good news? Many institutions have already set this money aside, waiting for you to claim it back.
The bad news? Many of us didn’t even know we were paying for it in the first place, so chances are we STILL don’t know we’ve paid for it - let alone how to reclaim it.
Remediator was created to help you find out whether you’re one of hundreds of thousands of Aussies who are owed refunds for dodgy or non-existent financial advice - and to help you get it back.
Get your FREE eligibility check here if you haven’t already done so
And if you want to know more about the “fees for no service” scandal, read on.
Melissa from Western Australia
"Remediator acted on my behalf and obtained a refund of $5,601 for financial advice fees charged for but never received. The made the process extremely easy and simple and I would have no hesitation in recommending their services."
WHAT does 'fees for no service' mean?
This is a phrase that was coined to describe a range of ways that banks, super funds and wealth managers have skimmed billions from their customers’ accounts for ‘financial advice’ without providing anything in return.
The Royal Commission exposed that “the root cause of the fees for no service conduct was greed” and it happened to hundreds of thousands of us:
“It is now clear that over the last decade many who sought and obtained advice from a financial adviser, and many members of superannuation funds, were charged ongoing fees for services that were not provided. The fees were charged ‘invisibly’, in that they were deducted from consumers’ investment accounts, often enough their superannuation accounts. The total amounts taken were very large.”
Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC
REMEDIATOR FIND $19,000 A.M.P REFUND FOR W.A COUPLE AFTER STORY ON A CURRENT AFFAIR
Nadine and her husband in Western Australia were over the moon after Remediator found a claim of more than $19,000 that they’d been charged for so-called “financial advice” they never received from AMP over a 7-year period.
“Remediator helped us obtain a $19,242 refund on financial advisor fees for services never received,” Nadine writes.
“The fees were included in insurance premiums paid over a 7-year period. We didn’t realise we were entitled to a refund until seeing a report about their services on A Current Affair. Remediator made the process to claim very easy and we are extremely happy with the outcome.”
HOW Did it happen?
There’s a couple of ways this might have happened to you without you knowing:
You had an allocated financial adviser and paid an annual fee, but they didn’t deliver “ongoing financial advice”.
Maybe you had one meeting in six years? Not good enough. Maybe you had a meeting every year but it was brief or just a phone call? Again, not good enough! A “thorough review of the customer’s financial needs” has to be conducted annually, or the fee was dodgy.
You didn’t have a financial adviser allocated to you and therefore you didn’t receive any ongoing advice, but you were still slugged with annual fees.
Maybe your adviser retired or they died (or maybe YOU retired or your relative died and you’ve inherited their estate), but the fees kept coming out every year. “Some superannuation funds charged members fees for providing the member with ‘access’ to advice from a nominated adviser,” the Royal Commission found, even if they never asked for it!
SA retiree Brian Gillan scored a refund of almost $11,700 in fees for “financial advice” he never received, as reported in News Corp papers. “I had no idea that I was being charged this much for these services. Firstly, I wasn’t aware of them and secondly, I didn’t receive most of what they were saying they had provided.” He requested a fee refund directly from the company several years ago but was told he didn’t have a case. He then engaged Remediator late last year and the rest is history.
How do you know if you've paid for financial advice and received no service?
Thousands of Australians who have paid fees to banks, super funds and wealth managers in the past 15 years have paid fees for no service - often without realising.
FACT: ASIC reported that as at December 2020 over $1 billion in fees for no service had been repaid to customers by the four major banks and AMP. At that time ASIC estimated that a further $3.6 billion could be returned in remediations they were monitoring across all financial services and involving over 3.6 million consumers.
If you’re unsure whether you’re a victim of the ‘Fees for no Service’ scandal, the clues could be in your old statements.
You can request your old statements from any financial institution and comb over the details, or you can ask Remediator to do the grunt work for you. The reality is that these fees were often well-hidden by a smokescreen of finance jargon but we’ve become very good at finding them.
Of course, if you opt for the DIY method and you hit a wall of legalese and red tape, you can always get Remediator involved at that point and we’ll come to the rescue.
Some of the language to look for includes:
Statement of Advice (SoA)
Record of Advice (RoA)
“Ongoing general support services”
Plan Service Fees
Adviser Service Fees
Once you identify a fee, you can either contact the financial institution and stake your claim for a refund, or ask Remediator to take up the fight for you.
Unsure if you’re a victim? Contact Remediator for a free eligibility check.
Deanne from Queensland
"Remediator helped me obtain a refund for $8,445 in financial adviser fees that I paid for advice services that I never received. I would definitely recommend contacting Remediator to see if they can assist you"
EVER HAD SUPER, life insurance or financial advice with amp, anz, cba, nab or westpac?
The other way to know if you might be a victim is to look at the list of companies identified by ASIC and the Royal Commission with the largest involvement in Fee for no service advice.
Have you had superannuation, life insurance or financial advice with any of the following? If so, you might be entitled to thousands of dollars in refunds.
AMP (including Charter, Hillross & Resolution)
AMP had the second-largest amount of super funds under management in Australia until the Royal Commission found it had charged thousands of dead customers for life insurance, despite knowing they were deceased, among multiple other scandals. ASIC is still suing AMP for ‘Fees for no Service’.
ANZ (including OnePath)
Tens of thousands of customers of ANZ and its subsidiaries were charged Fees for no Service. The bank began by offering partial refunds but has since been forced to top up its refunds.
CBA (including Colonial First State, FirstChoice & Avanteos)
FACT: The Royal Commission heard that a total of $2.93 million in fees had been deducted from the accounts of Colonial First State members who were already dead.
NAB (including NULIS, MLC, GWM Advisor Services, Apogee Financial Planning, Meritum & Godfrey Pembroke)
“NAB’s conduct fell short of community standards and expectations. Moreover, the conduct that has been described reflected a culture, demonstrated by senior executives within the NAB Group, of unwillingness to put right, wholly and promptly, what was evidently wrong conduct. And the conduct had been allowed to continue for many years.”
Royal Commission 2018
Westpac (including BT Funds Management, Asgard, Magnitude & Securitor)
To date, Westpac and its subsidiaries have refunded over $240 million to 46,000+ customers for either charging them Fees for no Service, or providing non-compliant advice.
As of December 2020, ASIC reported that more than $1.0 billion had been paid back or promised by these businesses for either ‘Fees for no Service’ Financial Advice.
Here’s the breakdown:
Fees For No Service
Compensation Paid Or Offered
No. Of Customers Paid Or Offered Compensation