Sydney investors to sue Commonwealth Financial Planning Ltd over lost millions

31 March 2010
Families who have lost millions of dollars because they were allegedly given misleading investment advice have started legal action against the Commonwealth Bank's financial planning arm in the NSW Supreme Court.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn is acting for seven people who have lost a combined $4.3 million because of investment advice from Don Nguyen, a financial planner employed by Commonwealth Financial Planning Ltd.

In their affidavit to the NSW Supreme Court, Harold and Norma Levinson, both in their eighties, said that in September 2006, they engaged Mr Nguyen as an authorised representative of Commonwealth Financial Planning Ltd. He assisted in setting up a retirement fund which was to act as an income stream for the couple, but the investments lost $2.5 million. 

Other investors who have suffered losses include Gabrielle and John Hall who have lost half a million dollars, a self managed superannuation fund Jomida Enterprises P/L which has lost $1 million, and another investor who has lost over $300,000.

John Berrill, partner at Maurice Blackburn said it will be alleged there was negligence in the way Mr Nguyen advised the investors. "The investors allege they were required to sign blank financial needs analysis forms, which were filled in later on. They were incorrectly categorised as aggressive investors and their money was invested in high risk portfolios."

"They were, in fact inexperienced investors who were risk averse. They were looking for steady returns to secure retirement plans," said Mr Berrill.

"Their money was placed in geared share funds and overseas shares without sufficient diversification and they've lost millions from their retirement nest eggs," he said.