MLC Super ‘Grandfathered Commissions’ Class Action

Class Action regarding the payment by the MLC Super Fund of conflicted remuneration to financial advisers using member’s funds.

IMF Bentham (IMF) and William Roberts Lawyers are working together to bring a class action against the NAB owned MLC Super Fund trustee company, NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited (NULIS), relating to excess fees charged to members of the MLC Super Fund by NULIS from 1 July 2016 onwards. The claim will allege NULIS breached its obligations to act in the best interest of the members of the MLC Super Fund, when it agreed to levy and levied these excess fees from members' accounts in order to pay commissions and other fees to advisers (Conflicted Charges).

It is not proposed that any financial advisers be sued in the class action.

The class action was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on 10 October 2019 by William Roberts Lawyers as an open class action on behalf of affected members of the MLC Super Fund whose accounts have been affected by the payment of the Conflicted Charges.

What compensation is being claimed?

The class action will seek the recovery of the Conflicted Charges plus interest on behalf of affected members of the MLC Super Fund.

Who can participate in the class action?

The class action is brought on behalf of members of the MLC Super Fund whose accounts have been impacted by the payment of the Conflicted Charges from 1 July 2016. The group members in this action are those persons who:

  1. were members of The Universal Superannuation Scheme Fund  prior to 1 July 2016;
  2. became members of the MLC Super Fund from 1 July 2016; and
  3. had accounts that were affected by the Respondent’s contraventions pleaded in the Statement of Claim.

Background to Claim

From 1 July 2013, the Future of Financial Advice Reforms (FOFA Reforms) banned conflicted remuneration for financial advisors, being commissions and other payments that could reasonably influence the advice given to retail clients. Under ‘grandfathering provisions’ of the FOFA Reforms, certain commissions or other payments to be made under an arrangement entered into prior to 1 July 2013 were excepted from the ban.

In mid-2016 there was a reorganisation of the superannuation fund structures operated by the MLC/NAB group, with NULIS becoming the trustee for the MLC Super Fund. Members were transferred to the MLC Super Fund (Transferred Members). NULIS, the new trustee, decided to maintain the Conflicted Charges that were being paid from Transferred Members’ accounts to advisers prior to 1 July 2016. The class action will allege that this decision by NULIS to maintain payment of the Conflicted Charges from 1 July 2016 and the making of such payments, constituted a breach of its duty to act in the best interest of the members of the MLC Super Fund.

Will it cost anything to participate in the class action?

The class action is being funded by IMF on a “no win, no pay” basis in accordance with the terms of a funding agreement or terms imposed by the Court. If the class action is successfully resolved and there is a recovery of compensation, IMF will be entitled to reimbursement of the costs it has spent plus a commission from such recovery only.

There are no ‘out of pocket’ costs for class members to pay. Class members do not have to pay anything in the event that the class action is unsuccessful, as IMF agrees to pay any legal costs that might be awarded to NULIS or any other respondents.

How can affected MLC Super Fund members participate in the class action?

As the matter is filed as an Open Class Action on behalf of eligible group members, you do not need to enter into a funding agreement to participate in the class action.

If you are a group member in the class action, you can register your interest and receive updates as the class action progresses. Registration is free and without obligation. Merely registering via this website does not bind you to any contract or commitment.

IF YOU WISH TO FIND OUT MORE – You can call us at 1800 016 464 or email us at [email protected]