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'Unpersuasive', 'inadequate': APRA's botched IOOF loss bad for all savers

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Friday was a dark day for millions of Australians who place their trust in a superannuation system where fund trustees are supposed to act in their client's best interests and the law is supposed to give them a kick when they don’t.

A judgment released on Friday suggests the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), which sat on its hands for years and copped poor behavior from our biggest financial institutions, badly botched a landmark case.


For the APRA, not least deputy Helen Rowell who announced the case via press release in December 2018, the 307-page judgment is a lesson on how not to run a case.

APRA alleged that financial services giant IOOF and five senior executives and directors failed to act in the best interests of super fund members — as required under superannuation laws — in a series of incidents.

It took legal action seeking to disqualify them for breaching their duties as super trustees.

The action followed a drubbing for APRA during the Hayne royal commission where it was portrayed as a hear no evil, see no evil regulator that allowed the super system to operate with little transparency and accountability, to the detriment of millions of Australians and their retirement savings.

Systemic weakness in APRA’s case.

In the rush to look tough, APRA targeted IOOF. But it failed to present a compelling case with sufficient primary evidence.

For that reason the Federal Court had no option but to dismiss APRA’s allegations and ordered it to pay costs. For the five individuals embroiled in the case, including former IOOF boss Chris Kelaher and former chairman George Venardos, it........

© The Age