BT discovers fee discrepancy

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BT Financial Group (BT) will refund customers after discovering a fee discrepancy and reporting to ASIC.

The Group found that some of its Wrap and SuperWrap customers have been paying adviser fees in excess of disclosed percentage ranges. Normally, customers retain a financial adviser for the purposes of establishing and maintaining their account. The adviser and customer agree a fee for the adviser services and the customer authorises BT as the operator of the account to deduct from the account the fees payable to the financial adviser.

BT’s past Investor Guides and Product Disclosure Statements disclosed adviser fees that were expressed as percentage ranges. In some cases, there was confusion around whether the percentage ranges disclosed represented the maximum adviser fees that could have been charged. A review undertaken found that some consumers were charged adviser service fees in excess of the disclosed percentage ranges.

"BT voluntarily decided to review the adviser fee arrangements and we proactively notified ASIC about the review. We are making remediation payments and our overall review is 80% complete," said a BT Financial spokesperson.

The Group has issued revised disclosure and put in place strengthened operational controls to prevent similar occurrences in the future, as well as compensating affected clients.

ASIC has written to all platform operators to remind them of their significant breach reporting obligations.

“It is important financial services companies charge customers the fees they have advertised and disclosed, and where this hasn't occurred, we expect errors to be swiftly rectified,” said Commissioner Greg Tanzer.