Ex-CBA unit fined $1.2 million for charging fees from dead pensioners

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(Reuters) -Australia’s corporate regulator on Wednesday fined a former unit of top lender Commonwealth Bank A$1.7 million ($1.2 million) for charging fees from deceased superannuation members.

The unit, Avanteos Investments, was a part of wealth manager Colonial First State, in which CBA divested its majority stake in 2020 to private equity giant KKR.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said 499 deceased members with funds in Avanteos pension products were wrongly charged almost A$700,000 because the company failed to update its defective disclosure statements.

The regulator said this was the first instance of a criminal prosecution for a company failing to update its defective disclosure statements.

Avanteos came under scanner https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/cbas-former-unit-pleads-guilty-pension-fund-charges-regulator-2021-12-08 during an investigation into the “fees for no service” conduct as part of a broader Royal Commission into the country’s financial sector in 2018.

The investment platform operator acknowledged the judgment in an emailed response to Reuters, and said it had completed a remediation programme and refunded all unauthorised adviser service fees deducted from deceased members’ accounts.

($1 = 1.4461 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)