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CBA admits to some royal commission findings; other banks reject claims

Australia's major banks offered differing responses to claims by the royal commission of misconduct at their financial planning arms, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia admitting to cases of misconduct, while other lenders rejected the commission's accusations.

CBA said it breached a requirement to act efficiently, honestly and fairly to some clients and admitted to breaching the Corporations Act where its financial planning arms charged clients for services they did not receive, The Sydney Morning Herald reported May 10.

However, CBA refuted assertions that it knew its advice businesses did not have adequate resources to provide ongoing services or that its planning arms, Count Financial and Commonwealth Financial Planning, had not reported cases of misconduct to the regulator within the 10-day required period.

Westpac Banking Corp. rejected all findings made against it by the royal commission, including suggestions that its conduct fell below community standards when it did not report the misconduct of planner Andrew Smith to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. The bank did admit that another adviser, Krish Mahadevan, engaged in misconduct and may have breached parts of the Corporations Act.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. rejected all preliminary findings of misconduct at its RI Advice and M3 Financial planning arms. ANZ also refuted the commission's findings that its financial planning arms did not have adequate resources to supervise its planners and risk management practices.

The royal commission is looking into the financial sector to investigate alleged cases of misconduct at banks and other financial service entities. The inquiry will last for a period of 12 months with a final report expected on February 2019.