Piper Alderman has filed a class action in the Federal Court of Australia on behalf of individuals who have acquired, renewed or continued to hold financial products, insurance products and platform products on the advice of an adviser from Count Financial, which was a subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The class action alleges that Count Financial contravened their legal obligations by failing to ensure that their advisers were acting in their clients’ best interests and prioritising their clients’ interests when giving personal financial advice and receiving commissions and/or benefits. Further, the class action alleges that advisers charged some clients ongoing service fees in circumstances where they did not provide them any ongoing service.
The class action alleges that Count Financial contravened its obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to:
- ensure that their financial advisers do not contravene their legal obligations to their customers;
- ensure that adviser remuneration was free from conflict;
- ensure that their financial advisers acted in their customer’s best interest when giving personal financial advice; and
- ensure that financial advisers to provide services where fees were charged.
The class action alleges that as a result of these contraventions, Group Members suffered loss or damage.
Group Members are any persons who:
- received personal advice from a financial adviser in the Count network;
- pursuant to that advice, acquired, renewed and/or continued to hold financial products, insurance products and platform products; and
- paid commissions in respect of those products between 21 August 2014 and 21 August 2020 (the Relevant Period).
Status of the Proceedings
The Group Members’ claims are addressed in the Further Amended Statement of Claim filed 10 July 2023 and Count’s defence to the Further Amended Statement of Claim filed 8 August 2023. Copies of those documents, together with the most recent orders, are available here.
The Applicant in the class action, represented by Piper Alderman, has filed and served its lay evidence in chief and its expert evidence. Count Financial has also filed its lay and expert evidence. The parties are also preparing further rounds of lay evidence and expert evidence.
Pursuant to the Orders made by the Court on 10 August 2023, the opt out process is to take place by the end of 2023. The deadline for Group Members to opt out of the claim is 4.00pm Friday, 1 December 2023. Should Group Members wish to opt out of the class action, they must deliver an Opt Out Notice to the Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia, Victoria District Registry. A copy of this notice can be accessed Opt Out Notice.
If you are unsure as to whether your financial adviser was part of the Count network, you can see a list of the franchisees (businesses) that were part of the Count network during the Relevant Period at Franchisee List.
The proceedings have been set down for final hearing by the Court, commencing 4 March 2024 and presently listed to run for three weeks.
Registering your details
If you meet the definition of a Group Member set out above, we invite you to register for the class action by filling out your details below. If we require anything further from you, we will contact you on your registered email address or telephone number to discuss the action and your claim.
There are no upfront costs for registering to participate in the class action. The claim is being funded by international litigation funder, Woodsford Litigation Funding, meaning you will not become liable for any “out of pocket” legal expenses simply by registering (or remaining as a Group Member and not “opting-out”). A copy of the Applicant’s funding agreement can be accessed on registration.
Importantly, this claim does not overlap with any other class actions you may have heard about against Count Financial. Piper Alderman is seeking to recover money for you that nobody else is.