How to score a ‘free’ car

Comm­bank chief Matt Comyn is sorry ... He’s sorry his in­sur­ance guys ripped off ter­mi­nally ill par­ents who took out life in­sur­ance with the bank

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION -

He’s sorry his fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors ripped off re­tirees for mil­lions of dol­lars with fraud­u­lent ad­vice.

He’s sorry the bank ripped off dead cus­tomers, by charg­ing ad­vice fees for no ser­vice.

And now he’s sorry that his bank teller staff scammed school kids’ Dol­lar­mites ac­counts.

You’ve got to hand it to the CBA, their fraud has a kind of … cir­cle of life to it, right? This week we learnt that thou­sands of children’s Dol­lar­mites ac­counts were fraud­u­lently ma­nip­u­lated by CBA staff, so they could earn bonuses and meet ag­gres­sive sales tar­gets.

Hang on a minute: Why would the bank link sales in­cen­tives to those cute-look­ing lit­tle Dol­lar­mite ac­counts? Be­cause their Dol­lar­mites pro­gram is eas­ily the most suc­cess­ful mar­ket­ing cam­paign in Aus­tralian his­tory. In fact, one an­a­lyst has sug­gested Dol­lar­mites was worth an as­tound­ing $10 bil­lion to the bank.

How? Sim­ple. The CBA pays schools a to­ken kick­back for sign­ing up stu­dents. Yet it’s chicken feed for ac­quir­ing a long-term cus­tomer. Es­pe­cially when Choice Mag­a­zine says 35 per cent of those Dol­lar­mites end up stay­ing with the CBA.

For well over a decade I’ve been call­ing out the Dol­lar­mites pro­gram. Hav­ing Aus­tralia’s largest is­suer of credit cards teach­ing kids about money, is like hav­ing Ron­ald McDon­ald teach­ing kids about nu­tri­tion. Be­sides, the Dol­lar­mite Youth­saver ac­counts terms and con­di­tions are rub­bish. Par­ents would be bet­ter off sav­ing for their kids in a high in­ter­est on­line sav­ings ac­count, and throw­ing their edu­mar­ket­ing in the bin.

Look, I’ve ded­i­cated my life to de­liv­er­ing in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion, and I can tell you that kids don’t learn much from the Dol­lar­mites cute car­toon mas­cots like “Cred”, who rides a skate­board and is “a real cool dude”.

Rather, it’s when Cred morphs into a credit card, and is mailed out to fresh-faced 18-year-old cool dudes, that their real ed­u­ca­tion be­gins. There are well over five hun­dred thou­sand kids who are un­wit­tingly en­rolled into the CBA’s mar­ket­ing data­base.

As par­ents, it’s time for us to tell the Comm­bank that their sleazy cir­cle of life has to stop right now:

It’s time to ban Comm­bank from our class­rooms. Sorry, not sorry. Tread Your Own Path!



My four-year-old son has cere­bral palsy due to neg­li­gence at his birth; I sued the hos­pi­tal and won $6 mil­lion. The lawyers gave us three days to made a de­ci­sion as to where to in­vest the money. We were given two options: NAB or Per­pet­ual. Both made pre­sen­ta­tions that we ad­mit­tedly didn’t re­ally un­der­stand.

His money is now in a trust fund with Per­pet­ual and we pay about $70,000 a year in fees (I think). They told us that it will cost about $1 mil­lion in fees over my son’s life­time. I do not know how to help him or even what our le­gal rights are.

I have been told by peo­ple there’s the pos­si­bil­ity that, if we were to try to move away from Per­pet­ual, they might get lawyers to sue us, us­ing our son’s money! Where do I turn to get the best ad­vice for him?


Hi Kylie,

I’m so sorry this has hap­pened to your fam­ily. Let’s get this clear: you have your son’s best in­ter­ests at heart. Per­pet­ual have their best in­ter­ests at heart.

What your lawyers should have done is ad­vise you to em­ploy a to­tally in­de­pen­dent fee-for-ser­vice fi­nan­cial ad­viser to guide you in choos­ing the best provider for what is a very im­por­tant ser­vice.

Ob­vi­ously there are on­go­ing costs in­volved in pro­fes­sion­ally ad­min­is­ter­ing an in­ten­sive dis­abil­ity trust for the rest of your son’s life. Yet what con­cerns me is that you don’t have a han­dle on what your son is ac­tu­ally be­ing charged.

So, I’d sug­gest you gather up all your pa­per­work and see a lawyer who spe­cialises in dis­abil­ity trusts. Ask them to do three things: First, have them cal­cu­late all the fees your son is be­ing charged an­nu­ally.

Sec­ond, have them com­pare these costs against three other rep­utable trus­tee ser­vices.

Third, and most im­por­tantly, have them an­a­lyse whether you re­ceived ap­pro­pri­ate ad­vice in or­der to make an in­formed de­ci­sion on be­half of your son.

I will per­son­ally do what­ever I can to en­sure the heads of Per­pet­ual give your case the care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion it de­serves.



The Bare­foot In­vestor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need (Wi­ley) RRP $29.95

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