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On The Record

Update on advice fee refund program

Update on advice fee refund program

Commonwealth Bank today provided an update on its advice fee refund program first reported in October 2016.

To date, reviews of more than 35,000 customers have been completed, most of which relate to Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited or BW Financial Advice customers. Approximately $15.5 million has already been offered or paid to around 6,500 customers, and a further $38 million in refunds is currently being finalised ahead of mailing offers to around 9,500 customers. 

The review of potentially affected Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited and BW Financial Advice customers will be completed by the end of June with final letters sent to customers in July 2017. As advised on 27 October 2016, in line with previous guidance and CBA’s conservative approach, this amount was fully provided for in prior years.

Executive General Manager Advice Review program Leif Gamertsfelder said: “We apologise to our customers who did not receive their annual review. We thank our customers for their patience and we are working hard to complete all remaining reviews as soon as possible.”



In 2014 Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited self-identified and reported to ASIC that some customers may not have received an annual review with their adviser, which was the key part of their ongoing service package. A similar issue was identified for some BW Financial Advice customers in the same year. 

Records are being checked for customers of Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited or BW Financial Advice Limited who paid for the Ongoing Service Package between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2015 or 1 November 2010 and 30 June 2015, respectively, to identify whether the key part of the package, an annual review, was provided. 

Customers do not need to take any action. Where our records do not show customers who paid for the ongoing service package during the relevant period received an annual review, we are contacting them to apologise and refund their service fees plus interest. 

Extensive work has been undertaken to identify customers that did not receive an annual review and to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future. As part of CFPL’s long-term business transformation, significant improvements have been made, including to systems, processes, supervision and training. In addition, following the Future of Financial Advice reforms, customers also receive annual fee disclosure statements and new customers receive opt-in notices every two years to continue their ongoing service package.