The corporate regulator is taking NAB to court, alleging it misled superannuation customers and wrongly took $100 million in fees from hundreds of thousands of fund members.
ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against NULIS Nominees and MLC Nominees, which are the entities responsible for NAB’s super funds.
The regulator is seeking declarations that the NAB trustees broke the law, as well as civil penalties.
ASIC has alleged NULIS and MLC Nominees deducted $33 million in fees from 220,000 members of the MLC MasterKey Business and MLC MasterKey Personal Super products despite not allocating them an adviser.
The watchdog also alleges NAB deducted $67 million in fees from 300,000 members of the MLC MasterKey Personal Super product, where members either received no financial planning services or services they could have received for free anyway.
“We will consider carefully the allegations that have been made,” NAB chief legal counsel Sharon Cook said in a statement.
“We respect the work of our regulators and will work with ASIC on these matters.”
NAB executives have been grilled over the bank’s conduct at the royal commission, as part of the broader ‘fees for no service’ scandal that has featured prominently during the inquiry.
Royal Commission raised questions of criminal conduct
Under questioning from commissioner Kenneth Hayne during the hearings on superannuation, the former head of NULIS Nicole Smith admitted she never considered whether wrongly taking fees from customers’ accounts was a crime.
The inquiry also revealed a confidential ASIC report from 2017 slamming NAB over the ‘fees for no service’ conduct and outlining suspected breaches of the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act.
In his closing submissions to the hearings, senior counsel assisting the inquiry Michael Hodge QC said NAB may have broken the law by misleading super customers and failing to inform ASIC within the legal deadline.