Hayne throws ANZ/IOOF super transaction into doubt

The likelihood that ANZ will complete the sale of its superannuation business to IOOF has been thrown into further doubt by the final report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

The final report specifically referenced the transaction between IOOF and ANZ in the context of referring IOOF actions with respect to its IOOF Investment Management business and its handling of an anomaly with respect to the Questor superannuation fund entity.

Completion of the superannuation transaction was already in doubt as a result of action commenced against IOOF by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

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The Commissioner, Kenneth Hayne, specifically referred IOOF’s handling of the Questor issue to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on the basis of a breach of the ASIC Act relating to misleading and deceptive conduct.

Hayne found that a letter from IOOF Investment Management to members of the Questor funds claiming the anomaly was due to an “historical distribution error: resulting in a “lower rate of return” was effectively misleading.

He said he was satisfied that IIML may have failed to act in the best interests of members and thereby contravened Section 52(2)(c) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act.

“The matter not having been drawn to the attention of the regulator, I refer the conduct to APRA,” he said.

Hayne noted that APRA was also pursuing proceedings against IOOF and some of its senior executives including managing director, Christopher Kelaher, but also noted that that the fate of the sale of the ANZ OnePath superannuation businesses was in the hands of the OnePath Custodians Board.

He commended the board for focusing on members’ interests “despite significant and potentially conflicting interests of the parent group”.

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