Commonwealth Bank apologises for rogue unit

THE unreserved apology from the Commonwealth Bank for its rogue financial planning unit may be little consolation for one victim who lost her husband during an ordeal with one of the bank's former advisers.

The Senate inquiry's report on allegations of fraud and forgery laid out the effects of ex bank financial adviser Don Nguyen's actions on clients Jan and Alan Braund's lives.

Mrs Braund detailed to the inquiry how Mr Nguyen misused the trust placed in him to control their investments, by forging her husband's signature before he passed away.

"Mrs Braund told the committee that her husband has always taken care of their finances; as Mr Braund's dementia worsened, she relied on Mr Nguyen to act with honesty and integrity," the Senate report reads.

"However, Mr Nguyen failed to carry out her request that their investments be moved to cash in early 2007 and used a copy of Mr Braund's signature to move the Braund's money into high risk investments without her approval."

"Ultimately, this betrayal of trust meant that at the same time as Mrs Braund was caring for her dying husband, she was also forced to deal with a massive decline in the value of her investment and a bank that refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing."

The bank has since acknowledged a "small number of advisers, none of whom remain with CFP, provided some inappropriate advice to some customers".

Today, CBA chief executive Ian Narev said the events considered by the inquiry happened during the global financial crisis, when most people were losing money.

"Our principle was to put customers back in the position they would have been had they received suitable advice," he said.

"We have already paid $52 million in compensation to more than 1100 customers of specific advisers who were identified as having provided poor advice."

Topics:  commonwealth bank forgery fraud senate inquiry

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