Promontory Financial Group today released its third report on the Open Advice Review program, which provides an update on the program’s progress to 31 August 2015 and details of ongoing initiatives to deliver assessment outcomes to customers. The report notes that this work has increased the Bank’s capacity to assess a greater number of cases in a fair and consistent manner.
The third report shows that as at 31 August 2015, more than 23,000 customers had expressed interest in the program and over 8,000 customers had confirmed they would like their advice assessed. This followed an extensive awareness campaign and mail-out to around 350,000 households, and engagement with community groups. New expressions of interest for the Open Advice Review program closed on 3 July 2015.
The report also outlines Promontory’s review of sample cases, noting the Bank’s ongoing initiatives to continue applying the program’s case assessment processes in a fair and consistent manner. At 31 August 2015, 686 assessments were issued to customers, increasing to over 1,000 assessments by 30 September 2015.
The independent report from Promontory confirms that the program’s ongoing refinement of systems and processes, and recruitment of highly qualified people, have considerably increased its delivery of assessment outcomes for customers.
The program’s purpose is to ensure customers who received poor advice are put back in the position they would have been had they received appropriate advice, and to give reassurance to other customers that the advice they received was appropriate.
Promontory was appointed as the Independent Expert for the Open Advice Review program and as such will review the program’s processes and provide periodic updates on its outcomes. The next report by Promontory is expected to be released in January 2016.
Promontory Financial Group’s third report can be viewed on Commonwealth Bank’s website.
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 encompasses the following:
- 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 the periodic reports public.
New expressions of interest for the Open Advice Review program closed on 3 July 2015. For more information, please call 1800 507 281 or visit www.commbank.com.au/openadvice.