Chris Ison

Moura graziers sue Westpac for $3m

A MOURA couple is suing the Westpac Bank for more than $3million, claiming it provided them with "negligent" financial advice.

According to a claim lodged in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton earlier this week, graziers Alastair and Lorrain Lang are suing Westpac Bank for damages for losses incurred after they said they followed advice given to them by Westpac staff.

The claim said the Langs went to the Westpac Bank in Rockhampton in April 2007 where they met with an agribusiness manager "for a review of their business overdraft".

It says the Langs were told to "investigate an opportunity to make contributions of $1million each to their superannuation prior to June 30", after they told the manager they wanted to sell their grazing property, Langsvale, and retire to Hervey Bay.

The claim said the bank manager advised them to meet with the executive financial planner.

The Langs claim the financial planner advised them there was an "opportunity until June 30 to make contributions of $1million each to their existing superannuation funds", and that "Westpac was willing to lend them $2.2million to allow them to make those contributions".

The graziers also claim it was recommended they "make contributions of $1million each into funds with the balance of $200,000 used to pay the interest payments until Langsvale was sold", and that "only the loan managed investments would be required as security for the $2.2million loan".

The Langs said they accepted the statement of advice from the financial planner and entered into the agreement.

However, now the Langs say the advice they received "did not state the loan would be payable on demand" or that "Langsvale property would be required as a mortgage security for the loan".

The couple said they "relied on Westpac in implementing the steps proposed by its advice" and that Westpac breached a duty of care as the advice they gave resulted in the Langs acquiring "credit balances in their accounts in their superannuation funds, debit balances in their overdraft" and that they "did not acquire an investment which could be sold on the market".

The claim said the financial planner "failed to advise" the couple that "to fund superannuation contributions by way of borrowed funds was an inappropriate and inefficient way of building wealth for retirement" and that "no reasonably competent financial planner would have recommended the Langs borrow $2.2million to pay into a superannuation fund before June 30".

On that basis, the Langs are suing for $3,317,603 for "expenses incurred by them in entering into the package of transactions advised".

It was reported in Queensland Country Life that the 2061ha brigalow Langsvale property sold at auction for $3.85million on Wednesday.

The Bulletin contacted the Langs' legal representatives yesterday who said the couple declined to comment.

A BT Financial Group spokesperson from Westpac said the claim had not yet been served on them but that they took customer concerns seriously.

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