Don Nguyen is a former CBA financial planner banned until 2018 by Australia’s corporate watchdog for allegedly forging signatures, overcharging fees and creating unauthorised investment accounts for clients.
The bank has paid $20 million in compensation to former clients, and a Senate inquiry has been launched following Nguyen’s resignation in July 2009, while an internal investigation was ongoing. Seven additional CBA financial planners have also been banned by ASIC.
Fairfax Media and The ABC recently spoke with Nguyen as part of a joint investigation, which will air on the ABC’s Four Corner’s program tonight. He claimed no one at the bank, even from the compliance department, directly warned him what he was doing was wrong.
According to the former planner, who was found at a dry-cleaning business in Sydney’s south, no one ever said “Don, this is too much, don’t do this,” or “what you are doing is wrong”.
He also said most of his clients were financially educated and would have been aware of his actions. “Sorry, how can these people all come up to you and say ‘Oh, I don’t know what I’ve signed’,” he said.
The joint media investigation has also reportedly uncovered CBA documents from 2006 that label Nguyen as a “critical risk” and warn his actions could have led to “criminal liability” or seen him eventually jailed.
The Senate inquiry is expected to report its findings later this month, with a key recommendation expected to be a review of the bank’s compensation scheme. According to Fairfax, the bank paid out $50 million in compensation to 1200 clients of seven of its financial planners, a scheme that had been described as flawed.
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