Aware Financial Services Australia Limited (Aware FS)
(AWF1) 17 February 2022
Aware FS, formerly State Super Financial Services Australia Limited (StatePlus), was ordered by the Federal Court to pay a $20 million penalty for charging over 25,000 customers fees for financial services it did not provide, in contravention of the ASIC Act.
Between 21 August 2014 and 30 June 2018, Aware FS charged approximately 25,300 customers a total of $50 million in fees for advice services included as part of the superannuation product offered by Aware FS, which at that time was also a superannuation trustee. The firm provided at least 17,500 customers with written disclosure documents advising them that they would receive an annual financial planning review called an Annual Review Service. Another 7,800 customers entered into ongoing advice service arrangements that included provision of an Annual Review Service.
Aware FS never provided the promised services.
This conduct was the subject of the Financial Services Royal Commission (Final Report 1 February 2019).
Aware FS remediated nearly $105 million to impacted customers.
Aware FS admitted liability and joined ASIC in submitting to the Court that a penalty of $20 million was appropriate.