- It became “common practice” by NAB financial advisers to have false witnessing of forms.
- The advisers thought they were taking a short cut for their clients.
- One adviser even initialed a form using his clients initials.
Irregularities with client paperwork became common at the NAB as financial advisers closed paperwork with only one witness, when there should have been two, or initialed forms on behalf of customers.
The financial services royal commission was told an internal review found that financial advisers witnessing nomination forms without a second signature was “common practice”.
Beneficiary nominations forms for 2520 customers were found to be affected. The bank had been in contact with the customers.
An invalid beneficiary nomination form can cause problems when a person’s estate comes to be distributed after death.
Andrew Hagger, the NAB’s consumer and wealth division chief customer officer, was questioned today by Rowena Orr, senior counsel assisting the commission.
Hagger says the the practice was a failure of discipline but the advisers thought they were taking a short cut for their clients.
“It was sloppy and unprofessional,” he said.
One NAB financial adviser, Bradley Meyn, forged two customers’ initials and asked another bank employee to falsely witness a beneficiary nomination form.
Later Meyn said he knew at the time that what he had done was wrong. He eventually lost his job.
The management team of the wealth division had their bonuses cut, some by 10% and others 100%, because of misconduct over signatures on forms.
Australia’s major banks face 15 different major inquiries, including the Royal Commission, following a series of scandals involving giving poor financial advice to customers.
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