NSW Changes to Product Disclosure Statement - Help?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


3 January 2019
My sister's superannuation provider is charging her fees inconsistent with the current Product Disclosure Statement.

Many years ago, when my sister left her then employer, she left her superannuation with the same provider but changed from their corporate to retail product. At that time, the provider's asset administration fee for their retail product was quite high. The provider has since reduced that fee, for that product, by a substantial amount.

The current PDS reflects that reduced fee. However, the provider has continued to charge my sister the much higher fee that applied when she switched to their retail product. Looking across the provider's website it is impossible to find a document that references the high legacy fee my sister is being charged. Logging on to her account, the website provides many links, including a link to relevant documents. This links to the current PDS, with an asset administration fee around one-third what my sister is being charged.

Many other terms of the PDS have changed over time - one-off fees have been charged, legal entities have changed, etc - and my sister has borne all of these, but somehow the substantial reduction in the asset administration fee (which occurred many years ago) has not been passed on. Yes, her regular statements reflect the fee actually charged and she could have calculated at least roughly the basis point equivalent fee and thereby determined that the fee being charged does not accord with the current PDS, but I do not believe she is obliged to do that.

My sister's superannuation provider is a large operator, so I am loath to believe they have something so basic incorrect, but it was my understanding that where a provider has a retail superannuation product and they change the terms thereof and they amend the PDS to reflect those revised terms, those new terms apply to everyone (at least unless there is a special side agreement or something). That is the point of Special Event Notices and so forth. I have reviewed the relevant section of the Corporations Act 2001 and think they are consistent with my understanding.

Anyway, hoping someone can either confirm my understanding or disabuse me of my misunderstanding. My sister has authorised me to speak to her provider on her behalf. If they have been overcharging and I cannot make progress, then I will be looking for a lawyer to speak to the provider on my sister's behalf. The sums at stake are reasonably substantial.

Thank in advance for any guidance.

Rob Legat - SBPL

LawTap Verified
16 February 2017
Gold Coast, Queensland
Your first port of call is to contact (I suggest write) the superannuation trustee and point out the situation. The recent Royal Commission into the banking sector has highlighted the ease with which little things get 'missed' - like continuing to charge fees to deceased clients.

If that doesn't fix the issue, I'd suggest your next port of call is to the ombudsman - Home - Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)