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Fees for no service: OnePath Custodians penalised $5 million  

Superannuation trustee OnePath Custodians has been penalised $5 million for making false or misleading representations to members about its right to continue charging them fees, in civil penalty proceedings launched in 2021 by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). 

The Federal Court found the trustee – owned by listed wealth services group Insignia Financial – misled members of the superannuation product, Integra Super, about adviser fees between December 2015 and November 2021, and deducted $3.8 million in fees that were never provided. 

OnePath Custodians had 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. 

The trustee 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. 

OnePath Custodians issued letters to approximately 766 members and annual statements to approximately 15,962 members, containing the false or misleading representations. 

Delinking letters were sent to the 766 previously linked members that stated “the rate at which you paid your fees and insurance premiums while you were a member of the employer plan will change to Integra Super Personal rates”. 

These members were not informed that they had the right to unilaterally terminate the adviser fee instead of the principal employer. 

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court says the case highlights the importance of a super trustee charging fees correctly and providing accurate, clear and timely information to members about superannuation fees. 

“Members should be confident that their retirement savings are not reduced over time by superannuation trustees making deductions from their accounts they are not entitled to make,” Ms Court said. 

“ASIC will continue to focus on misconduct that results in the erosion of super balances.” 

Click here for the court judgment.