About George Blades
George is a disputes specialist with over 11 years' experience working in complex litigation and regulatory investigations. A strategic and pragmatic thinker, he advises clients with the full lifecycle of a dispute in mind.
George's practice focuses on financial services, with a particular emphasis on the wealth sector. He regularly advises banks, super funds and financial advisory firms on major regulatory, compliance and governance issues. He has advised on dozens of regulatory investigations including by ASIC, the ACCC and the AFP (including in relation to white-collar crime).
George's clients value his commercial mindset, which he developed working for a number of years in mergers & acquisitions, in competition law and on client secondments, including most recently in a role leading disputes for the wealth business of a major Australian bank.
George is also a core member of the firm's Japan Group, a multi-practice team of lawyers who service Japanese clients. His clear advice, Japanese language ability (written and spoken) and understanding of business in Japan, which he gained working over four years in Tokyo at a global firm, is particularly prized.
George commenced his legal career serving as Tipstaff to the Chief Justice of NSW.
George's representative experience includes advising:
- A major Australian bank – in its group licensees' responses to an ASIC investigation in relation to advisers' remuneration.
- A major Australian bank – in its and its group licensees' responses to disputes with advisers in relation to franchise and business agreements and with customers in relation to financial advice they received, including in internal dispute resolution, AFCA and the NSW Supreme Court.
- KPMG – in their defences in financial statement and compliance plan auditor negligence cases in the Federal Court involving collapsed mortgage lender Equititrust.
- Macquarie – in its defence of a claim in the Victorian Supreme Court relating to accessorial liability for breach of the directors' duty to act for a proper purpose.
- A major super fund – in its response to an investigation by ASIC in relation to the obligation to give reasons in relation to life insurance decisions under the SIS Act.
- A major Australian bank – in its response to an investigation by ASIC in relation to the obligation to give reasons in relation to life insurance decisions under the SIS Act.
- A big-4 accounting firm – in their response to an investigation by the ACCC into suspected anti-competitive conduct in relation to government procurement.
- REST – in its response to the Banking Royal Commission, including in drafting witness statements and preparing witnesses.
- A major Australian bank – in its negotiation of an enforceable undertaking with ASIC, and other response to investigations and surveillance, in relation to its wealth business, including in relation to product and distribution related issues affecting life insurance and superannuation.
- A former senior executive of listed company – in their response to an investigation by the AFP in relation to suspected foreign bribery in South East Asia.
- Macquarie – in its applications to the Information Commissioner to review decisions by ASIC to disclose documents pursuant to requests made under the FOI Act.
- KPMG – in their defence in a compliance plan auditor negligence case in the Federal Court involving collapsed mortgage lender City Pacific (Trilogy).
- A major Australian bank – in its and its group licensees' responses to investigations by ASIC in relation to superannuation rollovers and compliance concerns relating to their advice business.
- A major Australian bank – in its group licensee's response to an investigation by ASIC in relation to financial planning.
- A big-4 accounting firm – in their response to an investigation by the AFP in relation to their role in a suspected tax evasion scheme.
- Macquarie – in its response to ASIC’s 'Storm Financial' investigation and in its defences of both ASIC and class action proceedings, including proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court and Federal Court, involving claims including accessorial liability in relation to the running of an unregistered managed investment scheme, breach of contract, unconscionable conduct and liability as a 'linked credit provider'.
- Macquarie – in its appeal in the Full Federal Court case of Goodridge, an important case in relation to margin lending and contract law.
- Westpac/St.George and Bank SA – in their defences in the 'Bank Fees' class actions.