The ANZ and CBA have reached an agreement with ASIC to change how they distribute some of their superannuation products.
ASIC announced that it has accepted enforceable undertakings from the two banks, following an investigation.
The regulator says it found the banks had a “common practice” of offering their superannuation products – Smart Choice Super for ANZ and Essential Super for the CBA – to customers at the conclusion of a fact-finding process. ANZ called its process an ‘A-Z review’ and CBA called theirs a ‘Financial Health Check’.
“ASIC was concerned that the proximity between the fact-finding process and the discussion about Essential Super or Smart Choice Super was leading CBA staff and ANZ staff to provide personal advice to customers about their superannuation,” said ASIC. The bank branch staff were only authorised to provide general advice.
“ASIC was concerned that customers may have thought, due to the proximity of the fact-finding process to the offer of Essential Super or Smart Choice Super, that the CBA branch staff or the ANZ branch staff were considering risks specific to the customer when this was not the case.”
The enforceable undertakings prevent the banks from distributing these superannuation products in conjunction with the reviews. The banks will also each make a $1.25 million ‘community benefit payment’.
“ASIC will continue to proactively monitor how complex financial products such as superannuation are sold,” said ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell.
CBA had already suspended the distribution of the Essential Super product in branches in October 2017.