A former Commonwealth Bank employee has rocked a Senate committee hearing about what he claims are failures in the bank’s program to compensate users affected by the activities of rogue financial adviser employees who engaged in forgery, fraud and cheating of customers.
Russell Phillips, a former assessor within the bank’s Open Advice Review program, claimed the program is unfair to clients and designed to minimise the compensation paid out to affected customers.
“What the bank is trying to do is to lower the cost of its compensation,” Phillips said. He claimed the system is “not fair, it lacks integrity and apart from that it’s very opaque to outsiders.”
Labor Senator Sam Dastyari said Phillips’ revelation that CBA had not allowed assessors to talk to clients had left him “flabbergasted”. “At some point it has to stop being about the bank and needs to be about the victims,” Dastyari said.
Millions of dollars in personal investments are said to have disappeared after a CBA financial planner siphoned the money to a shady offshore investment vehicle.
A spokeswoman for CBA said: “We reject allegations presented to the Senate inquiry today and stand by the independence and integrity of the Open Advice Review program.”