Two new members of the Independent Review Panel will join the Chairman, retired Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Hon Ian Callinan AC. The two new panel members are:
- Retired Justice of the Queensland Court of Appeal, the Hon Geoffrey Davies AO, as Deputy Chairman; and
- Retired Justice of the Federal Court and the Victorian Court of Appeal, the Hon Julie Dodds-Streeton QC, as Panellist.
Mr Davies is a former judge of the Queensland Court of Appeal. He was chairperson of the Litigation Reform Commission, served as commissioner of the Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry and was a member of the Queensland Health Reform advisory panel. Before his appointment to the Court, Mr Davies was a leading Senior Counsel and Solicitor-General for the State of Queensland.
Ms Dodds-Streeton served as a trial judge and Justice of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria and subsequently as a Judge of the Federal Court until her retirement in April this year. In addition to distinguished service on the bench, Ms Dodds-Streeton also served more than 15 years on the Law Council’s Insolvency & Reconstruction Law Committee.
Ms Fiona Guthrie has been appointed as a consultant expert advisor to the Independent Review Panel. Ms Guthrie has had an extensive career as an advocate for consumers of financial services. Currently she is the Executive Director of Financial Counselling Australia and a member of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Consumer Consultative Committee. She was a Director of the Financial Ombudsman Service and Chair of the Consumer Advisory Panel to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Ms Guthrie will be available to provide assistance to the Panel at its request.
Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Bank, Mr Ian Narev said the appointments reinforce the independence of the Open Advice Review program.
“We have worked closely with the Independent Review Panel Chairman, the Hon Ian Callinan AC, to identify high calibre Panel members. We are very pleased that Mr Davies and Ms Dodds-Streeton will join the Independent Review Panel and that Ms Guthrie will participate in the program as an expert advisor. The standing of these individuals should provide customers further reassurance that they will receive fair and impartial treatment under the Open Advice Review program.”
These appointments now enable Commonwealth Bank to finalise the remaining details of the Open Advice Review program, including the appointment of Independent Customer Advocates. The primary role of the Independent Customer Advocates is to support individual customers through the review and remediation process. Commonwealth Bank is in advanced discussions with a number of plaintiff law firms to provide this service at no cost to customers. Finalisation of the appointments is expected in coming weeks.
The Commonwealth Bank has also appointed McGrathNicol as the program’s Independent Forensic Expert. McGrathNicol is a leading independent Australian advisory firm with extensive experience in forensic investigation. Its role will be to help establish a robust process to independently investigate any customer concerns about possible fraud relating to financial advice they received.
About the Open Advice Review program
Commonwealth Bank's Open Advice Review program is designed to deliver an efficient, fair and consistent outcome for any customer of Commonwealth Financial Planning or Financial Wisdom who may have received poor financial advice between 1 September 2003 and 1 July 2012. The program is as follows:
- Free assessment of previous advice by a specialist Commonwealth Bank team. In conducting the review the specialist team will share the information it has available with the customer and will invite the customer to provide information that the customer has available. Where required, McGrathNicol will provide Independent Forensic Expert advice;
- The customer will also receive an offer of an Independent Customer Advocate funded by the Commonwealth Bank;
- Customers who do not agree or are concerned with the assessment will have the option of a further review by an Independent Review Panel, led by the Hon Ian Callinan AC, which will review individual cases and determine whether compensation is payable and, if so, how much;
- Commonwealth Bank will be bound by the outcome of the Panel’s determination. However, the customer will not be bound and will still have the option of taking the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service or pursuing a claim in respect of the matter; and
- Commonwealth Bank will also have its internal processes overseen by the Independent Expert Promontory Financial Group, led by Dr Jeff Carmichael AO, who will make their periodic reports public.
Customer registration for the Open Advice Review program is open by calling 1800 507 281 or visiting www.commbank.com.au/openadvice