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330,000 disgruntled super customers join class action against NAB

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Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has filed a class action on behalf of more than 330,000 National Australia Bank superannuation customers.

The action relates to MasterKey Business Super and Personal Super account holders and accuses NAB of breaching its super trustee duties in a way that cause substantial losses to members.

It names two NAB group entities, MLC Nominees and NULIS Nominees.

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MLC Nominees was the trustee of The Universal Super Scheme which merged with others to become the MLC Super Fund in July 2016 - NULIS was the trustee of that fund.

The class action alleges MasterKey Business Super and Personal Super default members were left idling in products with higher fees and paying commissions to financial advisers that would have been banned if they were in a MySuper product.

It alleges MLC Nominees and NULIS failed to exercise the degree of care, skill and diligence required of a prudent super trustee and that they did not perform their duties and exercise their powers in the best interest of beneficiaries.

It also alleges that the trustees failed to give priority to the interests of beneficiaries where a conflict of interest arose.

NAB is accused of failing to transition in excess of $6.3 billion of accrued default amounts over to the lower-cost MySuper product in a timely way.

"The contraventions at the heart of this case resulted in NAB's default MasterKey super members paying higher fees and commissions and receiving lower investment returns for periods of time, when they could have been in a cheaper, better overall MySuper product," says Maurice Blackburn national head of class actions Andrew Watson.

"This is another regrettable case of mismanagement in the superannuation sector. The whole point of the MySuper reforms was to make sure that millions of everyday Australians who hadn't made an active decision about their super were not losing money on higher fees and unnecessary or unused services."

MLC Nominees and NULIS are also facing a Federal Court action from ASIC alleging the trustees misled MasterKey super members.

ASIC is alleging that NULIS and MLC deducted approximately $33 million plan service fees from 220,000 members of MLC MasterKey Business and MLC MasterKey Personal Super who did not actually receive services from financial advisers in association with the products.

And NULIS Nominees is facing another class action from William Roberts Lawyers over questionable financial advice fees that it alleges were not in the best interests of members of the MLC Super Fund.

This article was first published by Financial Standard

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Elizabeth McArthur is a journalist at Financial Standard covering wealth management including financial advice. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from UTS and a master's in creative writing from Melbourne University.
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