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ASIC hits Westpac with 6 Fed Court penalty proceedings - $80M customer refunds, $100M+ in fines

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21-320MR ASIC launches multiple legal actions against Westpac

ASIC has commenced six civil penalty proceedings against Westpac in the Federal Court. The proceedings, each the result of an individual ASIC investigation, allege widespread compliance failures across multiple Westpac businesses. The alleged conduct occurred over many years and affected many thousands of consumers.

The Westpac businesses against whom the allegations are made include its banking, superannuation and wealth management brands as well as Westpac’s former general insurance business.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said ‘ASIC is disappointed to have to yet again commence legal proceedings, on this occasion no fewer than six times, against a major bank. The conduct and breaches alleged in these proceedings caused widespread consumer harm and ranged across Westpac’s everyday banking, financial advice, superannuation and insurance businesses.

‘A common aspect across these matters has been poor systems, poor processes and poor governance, which is suggestive of an overall poor compliance culture within Westpac at the relevant time. Customers are entitled to have trust and confidence in Westpac being able to deliver what it promises, without suffering financial harm. Westpac must urgently improve its systems and culture to ensure these systemic failures do not continue.

‘It is unprecedented for ASIC to file multiple proceedings against the same respondent at the same time,’ said Ms Court. ‘However, these were exceptional circumstances. ASIC had numerous Westpac-related matters under investigation through the course of 2021, and we decided to expedite those matters for consideration by the Court at the earliest opportunity.’

Westpac has admitted the allegations in each of the proceedings and will remediate approximately $80 million to customers.

ASIC and Westpac will submit to the Court that combined penalties of more than $100 million are appropriate.

Each matter will now be separately considered and determined by the Court.

The six matters filed against Westpac concern:

Fees for no service – deceased customers: ASIC alleges that over a 10-year period, Westpac and related entities within the Westpac group, charged over $10 million in advice fees to over 11,000 deceased customers for financial advice services that were not provided due to their death.

General insurance: ASIC alleges that Westpac distributed duplicate insurance policies to over 7,000 customers for the same property at the same time, causing customers to pay for two (or more) insurance policies where they had no need for the additional policies. ASIC also alleges that Westpac issued insurance policies to, and sought payment of premiums from, 329 customers who had not consented to entering into an insurance policy.

Insurance in super: ASIC alleges that Westpac subsidiary BT Funds Management charged members insurance premiums that included commission payments, despite commissions having been banned under the Future of Financial Advice reforms. BT Funds Management represented that the insurance fees had been properly deducted from members accounts when in fact the insurance fees that were deducted included commissions that were not permitted. Some members also paid commissions to financial advisers via their premiums even though they had elected to have the financial adviser component removed from their account. BT Funds is remediating over $12 million to over 8,000 affected members who were incorrectly charged.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has also been reviewing these matters and ASIC and APRA have taken a coordinated approach to their respective inquiries.

Inadequate fee disclosure: ASIC alleges that Westpac licensees BT Financial Advice, Securitor and Magnitude (all no longer operating) charged ongoing contribution fees for financial advice to customers without proper disclosure. Some fees were not disclosed to the customer at all, at other times the amount disclosed was less than the amount charged. It is estimated that at least 25,000 customers were charged over $7 millon in fees that had not been disclosed, or adequately disclosed.

Deregistered company accounts: ASIC alleges that Westpac did not have appropriate processes to manage accounts held in the names of deregistered companies. As a result, Westpac allowed approximately 21,000 deregistered company accounts to remain open. Westpac continued to charge fees on those accounts and allowed funds to be withdrawn from these accounts that should have been remitted to ASIC or the Commonwealth.

Debt onsale: ASIC alleges that Westpac sold consumer credit card and flexi-loan debt to debt purchasers with incorrect interest rates. These interest rates were higher than Westpac was contractually allowed to charge on at least part of the debts, resulting in more than 16,000 customers, who were likely to be in financial distress, being overcharged interest. Westpac and/or the debt purchasers have refunded over $17 million to affected customers.

ASIC further alleges that in all matters, excluding Debt onsale and Insurance in super, Westpac failed to ensure that its financial services were provided efficiently, honestly and fairly.

The full list of Westpac businesses against which the allegations are made are:

  • Westpac Banking Corporation
  • Advance Asset Management Limited
  • Asgard Capital Management Limited
  • BT Funds Management Limited
  • BT Funds Management No. 2 Limited
  • BT Portfolio Services Limited
  • Securitor Financial Group Pty Limited
  • Magnitude Group Pty Ltd 


Fees for no service - deceased customers: Originating Process (PDF 855 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 4 MB) 

General insurance: Originating Process (PDF 498 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 1 MB)  

Insurance in super: Originating Process (PDF 580 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 11 MB)  

Inadequate disclosure of fees: Originating Process (PDF 833 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 3 MB) 

Deregistered company accounts: Originating Process (PDF 529 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 10 MB)

Debt onsale: Originating Process (PDF 636 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 3 MB) 


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They will keep overcharging and mislead at points of sale because conflicts of interest too great. $80 million to them is lunch money.
Every $80 million they get fined, they make billions via rip-offs.


Banks are too big to fail. They can get away with murder. Same for the globullist oligarchs who tell our govts what to do, ignore the voters.


Fees for no service – deceased customers - and as the chairman and board members filed out of the boardroom the curtains were drawn, candles lit and a group of financial advisors shuffled in and sat around the table. A low, almost whispering voice was heard to say:

"Are there any friendly Westpac spirits who will communicate with us on financial matters today?".

And to the gasps of those assembled the glass started to move on Ouija board....


All four banks higher on ASX today. This corporate speeding ticket hasn't bothered them in the slightest.



Westpac has the usual diversity and inclusion policy and they believe in acting on climate change so what is the point of this? Is it another way of funnelling money off somewhere?

Rusty of Qld

A joke, they'd spill that down the front of themselves at a bankers convention in the Bahamas.


Banks and bank robbers are both in exactly the same business…, except the banks are much better at it and have veneer of legality. Isn’t this the second time in 10 years Westpac has been caught with hand in the till? Here’s an idea, suspend their banking licence and make them reapply under totally new conditions!


Oh , and who Heads the Australian Banking Assoc....... Oh thats right another Dud , has been, Qld Female Premier...Anna Bligh.
Go figure. Its a tight little Club... I wonder what position they will come with for " The Palace Duck. "

Davey Boy

Correct MB it looks like old charges just renewed for the masses. And every comment endorses this view. Let's face it, the Banks are easy to demonise, everyone hates the 'Big Banks'.

What a great cover for ASIC's strange reluctance to go after 'Big Oil".

The Petrol Companies have been rorting the public with impunity for many decades. ASIC does not want to go after them. Why Not?

Up The Workers!

If I ripped off, cheated or stole that much money from innocent citizens, I'd be spending decades behind bars.

When Bank Board Members do it, it's a pat on the back, Single Malts all round in the Boardroom and back to the Toorak mansion.

Who wants to bet that not a single Westpac Board Member or Executive spends a single night rubbing shoulders with, or a single morning sharing the 'soap-on-a-rope' with drug dealers, rapists, child molesters or Party Political assorted Branch-stacking embezzlers, liars and crooks in Her Majesty's Pleasure House with the bars on the windows?

Gerard Flood

IMVHO, ASIC - and the ACCC for that matter - personnel are selected to do the bidding of the most highly concentrated* commercial Ascendancy in the OECD, with the bumboy ALP/LNP duopolY handling the etherial directions. [* 93% of all retail controlled by two gorilla conglomerates - Assoc Prof Frank Zumbo, and those conglomerates controlled by Big Finance's cross-pollinated board members - which they use to 'sterilise' independent retailers and farmer suppliers.] It's time our Executive Governments put the citizen's family needs at the centre of public policy. BTW, did anyone notice that, when Abbott was PM, Big Finance was so concerned with TA's 'direction' that they planted a series of anti-Abbott's financial reforms in the AFR? Any attempts at reform would need significant popular support in critically powerful institutions, if any reform were to have any chance of succeeding. eg, if the banks succeed in getting away with flea bite fines - complete with personal rewards to the key personnel - then the 'green light' stays 'on' for more thievery on a larger scale. What does ASIC understand by the word, "deterrence"?


I missed the part where some were jailed, business as usual.

Rip off people how many other illegal things are they doing that have not been exposed yet?


They was an article few years ago, if the banks stopped dealing with drug traffickers and other illegal activities they would all be unviable.


As a WestPac user I would like to know the bank people here have had the least amount of trouble with?

...lookin' for a change!!

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