Frequently asked questions

General

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 resolving 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.

The proposed settlement requires SPSL (Suncorp) to pay $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 SPSL (Suncorp) Super Class Action on the basis that there is no admission of liability (the Proposed Settlement).

If you are a Group Member (or are eligible to register on behalf of a Group Member) and if you decide to participate in the Settlement Distribution Scheme, you should register to ensure your participation.

If you are a Group Member and you do not register, you will remain a Group Member (but not a Registered Group Member unless your BPAY®® details are included in the SPSL (Suncorp) Group Member Data referred to in paragraph 9 of the Notice of Proposed Settlement you received). If the Proposed Settlement is approved by the Court, you will still be bound by the terms of the Proposed Settlement and Settlement Distribution Scheme but you will not be entitled to participate in the Settlement Distribution Scheme.

As paragraph 6 of the Notice of Proposed Settlement states, if the Proposed Settlement is approved by the Court, then upon receipt by William Roberts Lawyers of the full Resolution Sum from SPSL (Suncorp), each and every claim made by (or on behalf of) the Plaintiff or any Group Member in the Suncorp Super Class Action will be finally resolved. In other words, Group Members will not be permitted to 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.

Because this is a class action, a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales must decide whether the Proposed Settlement is fair and reasonable in the interests of the Group Members. A judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales must approve the settlement before its terms are effective. The judge will conduct a hearing (Settlement Approval Hearing) to decide whether the Proposed Settlement is fair and reasonable, and whether to approve the Proposed Settlement, at 10:00am (AEST) on 22 September 2022.

Before any distribution is made to Group Members, approximately $19 million is proposed to be deducted from the Resolution Sum of $33 million.

The following costs are what make up the $19 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, by the time of the Settlement Approval Hearing. The current estimate for those costs will be approximately $6,245,374.19.
  • After-the-event insurance premium and applicable tax payable (but not yet paid) by LCM. The current estimate is that these costs will be approximately $1,334,160.
  • Funding Commission. The Plaintiff will seek Court approval of a payment of approximately $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 amount of remuneration that the Court considers fair and reasonable in all the circumstances will be deducted from the amounts otherwise payable to Group Members regardless of whether any individual Group Member signed the funding agreement. The kind of order that will be sought in this case is sometimes called 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. The plaintiff’s current estimate is that those costs including the uplift will be approximately $1,163,458.64.
  • The Plaintiff’s unpaid legal costs and disbursements incurred and to be incurred between 22 May 2022 and the completion of the settlement approval hearing on 22 September 2022 (or such other date ordered by the Court). The Plaintiff’s current estimate is that those costs will be approximately $1,300,000. This estimate includes KordaMentha's current estimate of approximately $781,000 for their work in distributing this notice, building the relevant websites, processing Group Member registrations and addressing inquiries from potential Group Members. One important factor influencing the amount of these costs is the volume of Group Member inquiries and registration, noting that the Plaintiff's current estimate is that there are potentially over 150,000 Group Members.
  • The Plaintiff's costs of administering the Settlement Distribution Scheme (Administration Costs). The Plaintiff’s current estimate is that those costs will be approximately $650,000.00, including KordaMentha's estimate of $396,000 for their work. An important factor influencing the amount of these costs is the volume of Group Member inquiries and registration.
  • $12,000 to be paid to the Plaintiff to reimburse him for his time and/or 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/or inconvenience they incurred in playing a more active role than was required of the other Group Members.

It is important to understand that the only costs and remuneration amounts that will be deducted from Group Members’ compensation will be those amounts which the Supreme Court is satisfied are fair and reasonable in all the circumstances. The Court has appointed an independent referee, Mr Ian Ramsey-Stewart, to provide an opinion on the legal cost elements of the proposed deductions.

The class action is being run by William Roberts Lawyers.

LCM Operations Pty Ltd (LCM) is funding the case. LCM is a subsidiary of a publicly listed litigation funder, Litigation Capital Management Limited.

At the Settlement Approval Hearing, the Plaintiff will seek orders from the Court to approve a proposed Settlement Distribution Scheme which will establish how Group Members’ entitlements are to be calculated, and the process for distributing the Resolution Sum as efficiently as possible.

The Settlement Administrator administers the Settlement Distribution Scheme.

The proposed Settlement Administrator is Andrew Knight of KordaMentha.

A copy of the Settlement Distribution Scheme will be available online following verification, or at the offices of the proposed Settlement Administrator.

The Proposed Settlement has been agreed by the parties to the SPSL (Suncorp) Super Class Action, subject to the Court’s approval.

Because this is a class action, the Court must decide whether the Proposed Settlement is fair and reasonable and in the interests of the Group Members, and whether to approve the Proposed Settlement.

A hearing to decide whether the Proposed Settlement is fair and reasonable, and whether to approve the Proposed Settlement, will be held at 10:00am (AEST) on 22 September 2022.

For further details, refer to the Notice of Proposed Settlement available at either:

If you disagree with any aspect of the Proposed Settlement (including the amounts proposed under the Settlement Distribution Scheme to be deducted from the Resolution Sum before any distribution to Group Members) you should tell the Court and the parties that you object and your reasons for objecting.

Any Group Member who wishes to object to the Proposed Settlement, or any aspect of it, must file a completed Notice of Objection to Proposed Settlement (in the form at Annexure 2 to the Settlement Notice) by posting it to the postal address of the Supreme Court of New South Wales registry. The Notice of Objection to Proposed Settlement must reach the Registrar by 4.00 pm (AEST) on Wednesday, 31 August 2022.

Any evidence and written submissions upon which the Group Member relies in support of the Notice of Objection to Proposed Settlement must be provided to William Roberts Lawyers at the same time the Group Member files the Notice of Objection to Proposed Settlement. Any evidence and written submissions can be provided by email to WR-SSF@williamroberts.com.au or in hardcopy at Level 22, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000. Do not return the “Notice of Objection to Proposed Settlement” form to the Settlement Administrator or to William Roberts Lawyers.

The Suncorp Super Class Action run by William Roberts Lawyers is not a scam. Andrew Knight of KordaMentha is the proposed Settlement Administrator. 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: