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NAB's Turn In Royal Commission Spotlight

The incorrect witnessing of beneficiary nomination forms could have potentially rendered the final wishes of more than 2500 National Australia Bank customers invalid.

The banking royal commission is examining the case of NAB financial planners failing to correctly witness forms setting out who individuals want to receive their superannuation funds when they die.

The commission heard a NAB financial adviser forged a couple's initials and asked another employee to falsely witness a form where the husband and wife nominated each other as the binding beneficiary of life insurance through their superannuation.

The inquiry was told the adviser admitted it was a mistake, saying he did not realise at the time the customers had not stated the percentage of funds to go to each other and forgot a second person had to witness the nominations.

"I knew at the time what I had done was wrong," he said in an account read to the commission.

By October last year NAB had identified 353 employees who had been involved in incorrectly witnessing binding beneficiary nomination forms for superannuation funds.

The issue potentially affected the validity of the forms for 2520 customers.

"It creates the potential for the beneficiary nomination form to be invalid and for the trustee to then make a determination in the event of death," senior NAB executive Andrew Hagger told the commission.

"In doing so there is then the possibility that the trustee would allocate the funds differently to the initial wishes expressed by the client."

In a statement to the inquiry, Mr Hagger said improper or dishonest conduct by NAB financial advisers has included impersonating customers, forging their signatures and making unauthorised withdrawals from clients' accounts.

Mr Hagger, the chief customer officer in NAB's consumer banking and wealth management division, will continue giving evidence on Tuesday.


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