Frequently asked questions
These frequently asked questions and answers are provided for the purpose of assisting potential claimants with accessing information in an easily digestible form. They are not substitute for the information in the important Court approved Notice of Proposed Settlement available at either:
If there are any inconsistencies between the content of these FAQs and the Notice of Proposed Settlement, the Notice of Proposed Settlement prevails.
A class action is a representative legal proceeding where one or a small group of persons brings a claim on behalf of a larger group of 7 or more people against the same individual or corporation and the claims of all those persons are in respect of or arise out of the same, similar or related circumstances (and give rise to substantial common questions of law or fact).
By pursuing the claim through a class action, as opposed to multiple individual proceedings for each person impacted (it is estimated that there are over 150,000 such persons in the Suncorp Super Class Action), class actions allow for claims and disputes to be more efficiently resolved, which can result in a beneficial outcome for the impacted parties by reducing legal and administrative costs.
The class action was commenced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales (NSW) by the Plaintiff on behalf of all “Group Members” against Suncorp Portfolio Services Limited (SPSL (Suncorp)), as trustee of the SPSL Master Trust (formerly known as the Suncorp Master Trust) (SPSL Master Trust), Geoffrey Edward Summerhayes (Mr Summerhayes), and Sean Carroll (Mr Carroll).
The subject of this class action concerns certain fees charged by SPSL (Suncorp) to superannuation accounts and certain payments made by SPSL (Suncorp) to Financial Services Providers (including financial advisers) relating to the period 1 July 2013 to 21 June 2019.
On 27 October 2022, the Court approved the settlement of the class action. Please click here to view the Court’s judgment and click here to view the Court’s orders approving the settlement of the class action.
A summary of the key terms of the Court approved settlement is as follows:
- SPSL (Suncorp) pays $33 million (inclusive of costs and interests) (the Resolution Sum) to settle all claims made by or on behalf of the Plaintiff and Group members in the Suncorp Super Class Action on the basis that there is no admission of liability (the Proposed Settlement).
$18.68 million is deducted for costs and LCM Operations Pty Ltd’s (the Funder or LCM) entitlements before the balance is distributed to Registered Group Members. The $18.68 million is comprised of the following payments to:
- $6,182,661.39 for Action Costs;
- $1,334,160 for after-the-event insurance premium and applicable tax payable (but not yet paid) by LCM;
- $8,250,000 (representing approximately 25% of the Resolution Sum) for the funding commission;
William Roberts Lawyers:
- $1,080,132.06 for unpaid legal costs for work already done to 22 May 2022 together with an uplift of 25% on those costs;
- $963,818.47 for unpaid legal costs and disbursements incurred between 22 May 2022 and the completion of the settlement approval hearing on 22 September 2022
- $170,095.75 for the costs of administering the Settlement Distribution Scheme;
- $315,037.16 for their work in distributing the Notice of Proposed Settlement, building this website, processing Group Member registrations and addressing inquiries from potential Group Members;
- $334,416.72 for the costs of administering the Settlement Distribution Scheme as Settlement Administrator;
- Mr Ian Ramsey-Stewart, the costs Referee, $27,500 for the work he completed in preparing and writing his reports;
- the Plaintiff, $12,000 to reimburse him for his time and inconvenience in acting as the representative party in this class action; and
- the two Sample Group Members, $10,000 to reimburse them for the time and inconvenience they incurred in playing a more active role than was required of the other Group Members.
- the Funder:
- Only Registered Group Members are entitled to participate in the Settlement Distribution Scheme. Any Group Member who did not register or did not have their BPAY® details included in the SPSL Group Member Data (as referred to in paragraph 9 of the Notice of Proposed Settlement) are still bound by the terms of the Proposed Settlement and Settlement Distribution Scheme but are not entitled to participate in the Settlement Distribution Scheme.
- If you are a Registered Group Member, the Settlement Administrator will advise you how much you will receive in the settlement via an Assessment Notice. The likely timeframe in which you will get paid is early 2023. More details are outlined in question 5.
- Each and every claim made by (or on behalf of) the Plaintiff or any Group Member in the Suncorp Super Class Action is finally resolved. Group Members (including those who have not registered) cannot pursue those claims or make further claims of that kind against SPSL (Suncorp), SPSL (Suncorp)’s related parties (including its present and former related bodies corporate, directors and officers), Mr Summerhayes or Mr Carroll upon receipt by William Roberts Lawyers of the full Resolution Sum from SPSL (Suncorp), which occurred on 3 November 2022.
The Settlement Distribution Scheme, including the formula for calculating loss, has been approved by the Court.
The dollar amount payable to you if you successfully became a Registered Group Member will be determined in accordance with the process set out in the Settlement Distribution Scheme. However, the precise amount that will be payable to each Group Member is not yet known.
In accordance with the Settlement Distribution Scheme, the Settlement Administrator will proceed to assess the individual claims of Registered Group Members by reference to a Loss Calculation Formula which distributes the Residual Resolution Sum (after removing the value of Court approved deductions outlined in question 6) to Registered Group Members on a pro rata basis by dividing the Commission Total in the SPSL Group Member Data of the individual Registered Group Member by the aggregate Commission Total of all Registered Group Members, which is multiplied by the Resolution Sum available to distribute to Group Members, to arrive at the proportion that each individual Registered Group Member is entitled to.
Registered Group Members have now been sent their Assessment Notices by the Settlement Administrator detailing their expected payment under the Settlement Distribution Scheme (after deducting the amounts referred to in question 6).
It should be noted that the expected distribution can be minimal for some Registered Group Members, ranging from a cent to a few dollars.
Please refer to question 7 as to the limited grounds upon which Registered Group Members may seek a review of the Assessment Notice.
All attempts at payment in the Suncorp Super Class Action by the Settlement Administrator have now been finalised.
The first attempt at payments to Registered Group Members (eligible claimants) in the class action were made across late March and early April 2023. Following this process, updated payment details were sought from Registered Group Members whose payments in the first attempt were not successful, with secondary attempts at payment completed in early October 2023.
If you are eligible to receive monies in the Class Action but have not yet received payment, this will be due to you providing us incorrect payment details or no payment details at all.
For those Registered Group Members (eligible claimants) in the class action who have not been successfully paid (and who did not request payment via cheque), your claims have been lodged with Revenue NSW as unclaimed money. You are able to apply to retrieve your claim by following the steps outlined on the following webpage: https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/unclaimed-money/search-and-make-a-claim.
Where your claim has been lodged with Revenue NSW, we have provided your first name, last name, date of birth, SDS-Number (i.e., SDS-XXXXXX), and last known address per our claimant database. You may be required to provide some or all of this information when applying to retrieve your claim with Revenue NSW.
As (we) the Settlement Administrator are no longer in possession of the unpaid claims in the Class Action, please direct all questions on the unclaimed monies application process to Revenue NSW via their website linked above.
If you elected to receive your distribution in the Class Action via cheque, you will have until 5 March 2024 to present your cheque in order to receive your funds. Any unpresented cheques as of 5 March 2024 will be cancelled with the amounts lodged with Revenue NSW as unclaimed money.
Only Registered Group Members are entitled to participate in the Settlement Distribution Scheme. Any Group Member who did not register or did not have their BPAY® details included in the SPSL Group Member Data (as referred to in paragraph 9 of the Notice of Proposed Settlement) are still bound by the terms of the Proposed Settlement and Settlement Distribution Scheme but are not entitled to participate in the Settlement Distribution Scheme.
The Notice of Proposed Settlement was advertised on newspaper, published on web sites, and sent to potential Group Members via email, or SMS or mail in accordance with Court orders, in July 2022.
Before any distribution is made to Registered Group Members, approximately $18.68 million will be deducted from the Resolution Sum of $33 million.
The following costs are what make up the $18.68 million:
- Action Costs (which includes legal fees, disbursements, costs and expenses with respect to the claims made in the proceedings) paid, or that will be paid by the litigation funder, LCM, in the sum of $6,182,661.39.
- After-the-event insurance premium and applicable tax payable (but not yet paid) by LCM, in the sum of $1,334,160.
- Funding Commission. The Court approved a payment of $8,250,000 to LCM (representing approximately 25% of the Resolution Sum), as remuneration to LCM for funding of the class action and bearing most of the financial risks associated with the litigation. The Court decided that it was fair and reasonable in all the circumstances for this amount to be deducted from the amounts otherwise payable to Group Members regardless of whether any individual Group Member signed the funding agreement as part of a common fund order.
- William Roberts Lawyers’ unpaid legal costs for work already done to 22 May 2022 together with an uplift of 25% on those costs. Those costs including the uplift are $1,080,132.06.
- The Plaintiff’s unpaid legal costs and disbursements incurred between 22 May 2022 and the completion of the settlement approval hearing on 22 September 2022, in the sum of $963,818.47.
- KordaMentha for their work in distributing the Notice of Proposed Settlement, building this website, processing Group Member registrations and addressing inquiries from potential Group Members, in the sum of $315,037.16.
- The costs Referee, Ian Ramsey-Stewart, for the work he completed in preparing and writing his reports, in the sum of $27,500.
The costs of administering the Settlement Distribution Scheme (Administration Costs) being $504,512.47, comprising of:
- a further sum of $170,095.75 to be paid to William Roberts Lawyers; and
- a further sum of $334,416.72 to be paid to the KordaMentha as the Settlement Administrator;
- $12,000 to be paid to the Plaintiff to reimburse him for his time and inconvenience in acting as the representative party in this class action.
- Similarly, a total of $10,000 to be paid to two ‘Sample Group Members’ who were appointed to that role by the Court, again to reimburse them for the time and inconvenience they incurred in playing a more active role than was required of the other Group Members.
The Court approved the settlement on the basis that the Court was satisfied, based on evidence, that the costs and remuneration amounts above were fair and reasonable in all the circumstances. The evidence included a report from an independent Referee, Mr Ian Ramsey-Stewart, who was appointed by the Court to provide an opinion on the legal cost elements of the proposed deductions.
Under the Settlement Distribution Scheme, once the Assessment Notice has been provided to you, you will be able to request a review on the following grounds:
- based on reasonable grounds, that the Loss Calculation Formula in the Settlement Distribution Scheme has been incorrectly applied, and such incorrect application has resulted in an error in the expected amount of distribution in the Assessment Notice; and/or
- the Assessment Notice contains an apparent typographical error or omission in the expected amount of distribution.
The Settlement Administrator is not obliged to consider a request for a review of the expected amount of distribution in the Assessment Notice which is not based on the grounds set out above.
A request for review of the Assessment Notice must be submitted by a Registered Group Member by completing the request for Review form located on the back page of the Assessment Notice in writing and either posting the completed form to the address specified on the form or emailing the completed form to the address to SSFClassAction@enterclaim.com within 14 days of the date of the Assessment Notice.
If a valid request for a Review of Assessment Notice is submitted, the Settlement Administrator has 14 days from receipt of the Review of Assessment Notice or further supporting documentation to respond to the Group Member about the outcome of the review.
No. If you have opted out of the class action, you will be unable to participate in the class action settlement even if you fit the definition of a Group Member.
The Settlement Administrator and William Roberts Lawyers are not responsible for the tax outcome of any distribution from the Resolution Sum to your current superannuation account or bank account (as applicable). If you have any queries about taxation, please do not direct them to William Roberts Lawyers or the Settlement Administrator as you should seek your own taxation advice. Any amount you are entitled to receive from the Settlement Administrator may be reduced by tax withheld (if any) by your superannuation fund.
If BPAY details for your current superannuation account are included in the SPSL Group Member Data provided by SPSL on a confidential basis (meaning that you will be deemed to have registered for the Proposed Settlement), please note that the Settlement Administrator will be making the settlement distribution payment to your superannuation account by utilising a BPAY Biller Code that is styled as a concessional contribution code. If this applies to you, you will be informed of this prior to the settlement distribution payment being made. If this applies to you, a BPAY payment into your superannuation account may be treated by the Australian Tax Office as a concessional contribution, which may, in turn, have an impact on the way in which you are able to utilise your concessional contributions cap (for example, this may reduce the amount of the concessional contributions cap available for you to use in a given financial year). This is general information only and should not be treated as advice of any kind. Again, you should seek your own taxation and/or financial advice.
There is no upfront or out of pocket cost for registering for the Settlement.
The total of the sums proposed to be deducted from the Resolution Sum of $33 million (which is the amount SPSL (Suncorp) has agreed to pay under the terms of the Proposed Settlement) is approximately $18.68 million. Not all of the deductions are to pay the lawyers or the funder. Please refer to question 6 above for the details of the proposed deductions.
It is important to understand that the only costs and remuneration amounts that will be deducted from Group Members’ compensation are those amounts which the Court was satisfied were fair and reasonable in all the circumstances.
The Settlement Deed (which sets out the terms of the Settlement agreed between the parties) and the Settlement Distribution Scheme (which includes details of how the Settlement Administrator intends to determine Group Members’ entitlements) were available on the Registration web page. These documents can be obtained by Registered Group Members upon request made to the Settlement Administrator.
To facilitate the distribution of the Resolution Sum to Group Members, SPSL (Suncorp) was ordered by the Court to and has provided specified information about each of the Group Members, to the extent that SPSL (Suncorp) was able to locate such information after undertaking reasonable searches of its records.
The data included a complete list of members (present and former) of the SPSL Master Trust in respect of whose accounts the Commissions^ the subject of the Suncorp Super Class Action were paid. As such, if a member's name is not contained in the data, it was deemed that that member was not a Group Member who was entitled to participate in the Settlement Distribution Scheme.
Please note that there may be a number of reasons why your name may not have been in the data provided by SPSL (Suncorp) and you are not able to participate in the settlement.
For instance, if you were or are a “Sunsuper” member please note that “Sunsuper” is a different superannuation fund and brand to that in the Suncorp Superannuation class action.
Additionally, please note that, even if you were a Suncorp (SPSL) Superannuation member during the Relevant Period (1 July 2013 to 21 June 2019), you will not be a Group Member if you only held a Suncorp product known as a “risk-only” product.
Such “risk-only” products are not the subject of this Suncorp Superannuation Class Action.
A “risk-only” product is a life risk insurance product (within the meaning of s963B(1)(b)(i) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act)) which has no investment component or balance and is not either:
- a group life policy for members of a superannuation entity; or
- a life policy for a member of a default superannuation fund within the meaning of s963B(1)(b)(ii) of the Corporations Act.
Consequently, if you only held a “risk-only” product with SPSL during the Relevant Period (that is, if, other than "risk-only products", you held no other products with SPSL during the Relevant Period), you are not a Group Member in this class action and your name will not be contained in the data.
Even if you held an SPSL product that was not a “risk-only” product in the Relevant Period, you nevertheless may not be a Group Member if, during the Relevant Period, you did not pay the relevant Commissions, or all of your Commissions paid have been refunded or rebated to you by SPSL.
^ Commission includes up-front, trailing and all other forms of commission, but does not include commissions paid in relation to a Risk-Only Product (as defined in paragraph 20b) of the Further Amended Commercial List Statement) or fees agreed to by members for the provision of advice services.
The class action was run by William Roberts Lawyers.
LCM funded the case. LCM is a subsidiary of a publicly listed litigation funder, Litigation Capital Management Limited.
The Settlement Administrator is Andrew Knight of KordaMentha and will administer the Settlement Distribution Scheme. The Settlement Distribution Scheme establishes how Group Members’ entitlements will be calculated and the process for distributing the Resolution Sum as efficiently as possible
The Suncorp Super Class Action Settlement is not a scam. You should remain vigilant when accessing or providing information in relation to the class action and make sure that you are dealing with persons from KordaMentha or William Roberts Lawyers. If you have any concerns, you should visit the following web pages: