The CEO and Chair of IOOF have stepped aside

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  • The CEO and Chair of IOOF have stepped aside while they fight court action launched by APRA.
  • APRA wants to disqualify them for “failing to act in the best interests of superannuation members”.
  • IOOF says the allegations are misconceived, and will be vigorously defended.

IOOF Managing Director, Christopher Kelaher and Chairman, George Venardos, are stepping aside, pending resolution of proceedings by the prudential regulator APRA to have them disqualified from acting as superannuation trustees.

APRA last week announced court action against the financial services giant for “failing to act in the best interests of superannuation members”. The regulator has also issued a show cause notice to impose additional licence conditions on IOOF.

The action follows revelations in the financial services royal commission that IOOF, Australia’s second largest wealth manager, used members’ own money to compensate them for losses they suffered over a payment stuff up.

IOOF has funds under management, administration and advice (FUMA) of $125.9 billion. In the year to June, net inflows were up 28% to $5.8 billion.

In September, APRA announced that the royal commission hearings had revealed “serious questions of compliance” by some super fund trustees.

IOOF announced today that Renato Mota, currently Group General Manager – Wealth Management, has been appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer and Allan Griffiths, a current non-executive Director, is Acting Chairman.

Kelaher and Venardos will be on leave while they focus on defending the actions by APRA.

The other senior executives facing APRA action — Chief Financial Officer David Coulter, Company Secretary Paul Vine and General Counsel Gary Riordan — are staying on.

However will have no responsibilities for the management of IOOF trustee companies and have no engagement with APRA.

“We maintain our position that the allegations made by APRA are misconceived, and will be vigorously defended,” says Acting Chairman, Allan Griffiths.

“The Board believes that, in the interests of good governance, it is appropriate that Chris and George step aside from their positions. The Board will also commence a search for an additional non-executive Director.

“We acknowledge the seriousness of these allegations. We have a responsibility to our superannuation members, shareholders, advisers, employees and the wider community, to take decisive action. We are entirely focused on addressing the governance issues in the interests of all stakeholders and will do so in an orderly manner.

“I will personally lead our review of the situation.”