Bank fined for “billing thousands of deceased for financial advice”

Bank fined for “billing thousands of deceased for financial advice”

Australia’s third largest banking group has revealed it faces a fine for a series of alleged regulatory failures, including imposing financial advisory fees on thousands of deceased customers.

Westpac said it has admitted six civil lawsuits filed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) relating to activities across its operations over many years.

The bank said it expected to pay a fine of AUD 113 million (£ 60 million) under a proposal agreed with the regulator ahead of a hearing in federal court.

ASIC said the alleged breaches included costs of more than A $ 10million (£ 5.4million) in counseling fees to more than 11,000 people who died.

The bank is also said to have distributed duplicate insurance policies to more than 7,000 customers.

The allegations are the latest embarrassing revelations to hit Australia’s banking industry in a Royal Commission Inquiry in 2018, found widespread shortcomings in the industry.

Charging the dead was one of the most common and damaging revelations.

Westpac Managing Director Peter King said: “The issues raised in these questions should not have happened and our processes, systems and oversight should have been better. “

ASIC called on the bank to “urgently improve its systems.”


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