Use the law to fight the banks

Being proactive and seeking financial advice can make your future secure and stress-free. But what happens when financial or investment advice is misleading, negligent or outright wrong and your financial future is suddenly at risk? Or worse, what if money you invested for your future disappeared completely?

Course of action

Too often the victims of bad financial advice, or people talked into purchasing high-risk financial products, feel powerless to fight back against a large financial institution or ‘Big Bank’. There is a misconception that the victim cannot hold to account a party with unlimited financial and legal resources. Those feelings of ‘it’s my fault’ can prevent a person from seeking help to recover their funds, seek compensation or hold a financial institution or bank to account in a court of law.

It’s important to remember though, that people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and levels of financial security have been unwitting victims of unscrupulous and misleading financial advice. Legal firms such as Maurice Blackburn have the expertise to help those affected fight back and reclaim what is rightfully theirs - financial security.

Financial disputes is a specialist legal area

There is a specific area of the Australian law devoted to financial disputes. People who have suffered a loss as a result of negligent financial advice from a financial planner or financial institution may be entitled to compensation. For example, financial advisers are obligated to know their client, know the financial product they are promoting, give appropriate advice and make statutory disclosures. If they don’t, you can seek compensation.

Recommending a risky strategy that was inappropriate for someone given their financial circumstances, failing to adequately assess a client’s needs and objectives and also failing to assess a client’s tolerance for risk are examples of bad advice.A financial adviser is obligated to warn their client of the risks associated with their recommended investments and strategies, and should constantly monitor those investments and respond to changing economic circumstances if necessary. If a client needs to take out a loan to make an investment, the financial adviser should fully explain the interest payable on those loans. If this is not clearly communicated with transparency, then there is course for compensation.

A financial adviser should never recommend an investment that pays a high commission to them when another investment is more appropriate for the client’s needs.You can also seek compensation if your adviser takes part in “churning” – when too many trades are made on a client’s behalf, racking up high fees and commissions.

Your financial adviser should never:

  • Fail to disclose information or provide relevant documents, including a Financial Services Guide, Product Disclosure Statement, and/or Statements of Advice;
  • Advise you to take out loans you cannot afford;
  • Proceeds with investments when they have not fully explained the risks;
  • Recommend a strategy when you don’t have a secure source of income, or resources to fund repayments for investment loans;
  • Fail to review and revise your financial plan at regular intervals when necessary.

If your situation meets one or more, of these criteria, you may be entitled to compensation. Often people who fall victim to misleading or inappropriate financial advice lose their life savings and believe they cannot afford legal representation. Maurice Blackburn can help everyone from professionals and self-funded retirees to mum and dad investors, and can represent clients on a “no-win, no fee” basis in group actions and individual claims - you only pay legal fees if you win. They can explain the legal process in straightforward language and decide whether you have a legal case and your best course of action.

Everyday Australians can and do win cases against large financial institutions, big banks and individual financial advisers. The best way to reclaim your financial security is to fight back using the law. 

Contact us on 1800 810 812 to see how we can help you recover your losses.

TOPIC: Financial advice disputes
RELATED LEGAL SERVICES: Financial advice disputes

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Josh Mennen

Maurice Blackburn Sydney
Josh Mennen is a Principal in the Superannuation and Insurance practice in Maurice Blackburn's Sydney office. He regularly visits Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, and is available to see clients in these locations as well. Josh practices in a range of jurisdictions, including State and Federal courts and tribunals. He has an impressive record representing consumers of insurance products in claims and disputes including life insurance, income protection and superannuation claims. Josh also represents victims of negligent financial planning and stockbroking advice, including through the compensation schemes such as the CBA Open Advice Review Program and the Macquarie Private Wealth compensation scheme. Josh works closely with various unions, and a range of consumer and other community support groups including the Leukaemia Foundation, the MS Society, social workers, financial counsellors and many more. He presents seminars and acts pro-bono for these groups and their members to increase consumer rights awareness, and give a voice to those disempowered by illness, injury and socio/economic barriers. Memberships & Accreditations New South Wales Law Society member Law Council of Australia’s Consumer Law Committee member Australian Lawyers Alliance member ALA Disability Insurance National Special Interest Group Executive Committee member ...

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