Cases & Deals

Former IOOF Chairman successfully defends disqualification proceedings brought by APRA

Clients Venardos, George

Jones Day successfully defended George Venardos, a former director and Chairman of IOOF Holdings Limited ("IOOF"), in disqualification proceedings brought by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority ("APRA") against directors and senior management of IOOF in the Australian Federal Court. This was the first major prosecution by APRA in over 10 years, the first prosecution by any regulator following the Banking Royal Commission, and test case for the scope of duties of directors and officers of superannuation entities.

The Australian Federal Court found that none of APRA's claims against IOOF or any of its directors or senior management, including Mr. Venardos, were sustainable, and that there were no grounds for the disqualification orders sought. The decision provides some clarity around the purposes for and circumstances in which the reserves of superannuation funds can be used, and is also consistent with the view that directors have an oversight role and can in appropriate circumstances continue to rely on the information and advice provided to them by management.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority v. Kelaher & Ors [2019] FCA 1521