CBA Shareholder Class Action

Commonwealth Bank of Australia Shareholder
Class Action

Omni Bridgeway Limited (Formerly IMF Bentham) is funding a shareholder class action against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) (CBA) in respect of an alleged failure to keep shareholders properly informed regarding its non-compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) (AML/CTF Act) during the period from 16 June 2014 to 3 August 2017 (inclusive) (Relevant Period).

The class action was filed on 9 October 2017 by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on behalf of all shareholders affected by the non-disclosure by CBA.

On 7 April 2022, the Court made orders providing that group members who had not yet signed up for the CBA Class Action may register their claims by 4.00pm AEST on 7 June 2022. That deadline has now passed, and the parties intend to seek an order that would prevent group members who did not register by the deadline from participating in any settlement that may be agreed to before 7 November 2022.

Even if you did not register in time, you will remain a group member in the proceeding and may still be eligible to participate in some circumstances (for example, if a settlement is reached after 7 November 2022, if there is a judgment in favour of the applicant, or if the Court does not make an order of the kind the parties intend to seek). For more information, please refer to “Register Your Interest” below.

Background to the class action

On 3 August 2017, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) brought civil penalty proceedings against CBA in the Federal Court of Australia for "serious and systemic non-compliance" with the AML/CTF Act.

Specifically, AUSTRAC alleged that CBA:

  1. did not comply with its own AML/CTF program in rolling out its Intelligent Deposit Machines;
  2. did not comply with the requirements of its AML/CTF program relating to monitoring transactions on 778,370 accounts over a period of 3 years;
  3. failed to give 53,506 threshold transaction reports to AUSTRAC on time for cash transactions of $10,000 or more made through Intelligent Deposit Machines.

Following the commencement of the proceeding by AUSTRAC and an announcement by CBA to the ASX the following day, CBA's share price fell from an intra-day high of $84.69 on 3 August 2017 to an opening price of $80.11 on 7 August 2017 (a fall of $4.58 or 5.4%), on trading volumes more than 2.5 times greater than the preceding three month average.

Cause of Action

The class action against the CBA alleges contraventions involving engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and/or breaching continuous disclosure obligations in relation to its non-compliance with the AML/CTF Act, information that a reasonable person would expect to have a material effect on the price or value of CBA shares.

Further details about the cause of action can be obtained by contacting Omni Bridgeway using the details below.

Current stage of case

Filed in the Federal Court of Australia on 9 October 2017.  

The Opt Out and Registration process was between 7 April and 7 June 2022. This deadline has now passed.

Mediation is scheduled to occur on 7 & 8 September 2022 and, if there is no settlement, the trial will commence on 7 November 2022.

Key documents

You can download the following key documents below:

Opt Out and Claim Registration Notice and Opt Out Form
Opt Out and Registration Orders
Third Further Amended Statement of Claim filed by Zonia
Amended Originating Application filed by Zonia
Defence to Third Further Amended Statement of Claim filed by CBA 

How do I register my interest?

As mentioned above, if you did not register in time, you will remain a group member in the proceeding and may still be eligible to participate in some circumstances (for example, if a settlement is reached after 7 November 2022, if there is a judgment in favour of the applicant, or if the Court does not make an order of the kind the parties intend to seek). If you wish to record your intention to participate in those circumstances, please press the “Register Your Interest” button below.

If you have any queries, you can contact the Omni Bridgeway Client Liaison Team on 1800 490 566

FAQs

A class action is a special type of court case.  A class action is an action that is brought by one person (known as the ‘applicant’) on his or her own behalf and on behalf of a class of people (known as ‘group members’) against another person (known as the ‘respondent’), where the applicant and the group members have similar claims against the respondent.

In a class action, the applicant’s claims are used to resolve as many factual and legal issues common to the group members as possible. While the group members are represented by the applicant, it is not necessary that every group member have exactly the same type of claim. 

Class actions enable large groups of people to vindicate their legal rights without the burden or cost of commencing an individual case for each affected person. The class action process saves time and expense and allows the courts to decide issues common to all affected persons in a single case. 

On 7 April 2022, the Court ordered that a Notice be distributed for the information of persons who may be members of the class on whose behalf the CBA Class Action has been brought and who may be affected by the action.

The Court had set a deadline of 4.00pm AEST on 7 June 2022 for Group Members to respond to the Notice. That deadline has now passed.

The parties intend to seek an order that would prevent group members who did not register by the deadline from participating in any settlement that may be agreed to before 7 November 2022.

Even if you did not register in time, you will remain a group member in the proceeding and may still be eligible to participate in some circumstances (for example, if a settlement is reached after 7 November 2022, if there is a judgment in favour of the applicant, or if the Court does not make an order of the kind the parties intend to seek).

You must have acquired CBA shares (including through a Dividend Reinvestment Plan), any time between 16 June 2014 and 3 August 2017 (inclusive).

The Court has ordered that share trading data should be requested from potential claimants in the class action for the period between 16 June 2014 and 7 September 2017 (inclusive).

The claim has been filed on an ‘open class’ basis.  This means that all persons who acquired CBA shares during the relevant period are Group Members in the class action, irrespective of whether or not they have registered.

The CBA Class Action is being funded by Omni Bridgeway. Omni Bridgeway has agreed to pay the costs of the proceeding as it progresses in relation to the common issues. If the CBA Class Action is unsuccessful, Omni Bridgeway has agreed to meet any order requiring the Zonia Applicant to pay CBA’s costs for the CBA Class Action.

You will not become liable for any legal costs simply by remaining a group member. You will not be required to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket costs in relation to the CBA Class Action as it progresses in relation to common issues.

Please refer to 'Costs' on page 6, within the Opt Out and Claim Registration Notice for more information. If you do not have a copy of the Notice, it is available for download under Key Documents above.

Key documents

The CBA Shareholder Class Action Funding Agreement (“LFA”) contains a number of clause cross-references that appear to have defaulted to 0 when preparing the LFA in portable document format (“.pdf”). Please click here to obtain an updated version of the LFA with the correct cross-referencing. You are not required to re-execute the LFA, as the cross-referencing errors do not alter the context of the LFA or the clauses in question. Omni Bridgeway apologises for any inconvenience this may cause. Set out below is a table of cross reference corrections:

Clause Number

Cross-Reference

Clause Number

Cross-Reference

Clause Number

Cross-Reference

4.2

14

4.9

14

9.11

19

14.2

14

19.1

19

19.8

19

19.8.2

19

19.9.6

19

19.9.8

19

19.9.9

19

19.10.4

19

19.11

19

19.14

19

23.1

19