About George Blades
George is a disputes specialist with over 12 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, and includes significant experience in competition disputes. He regularly advises banks, super funds and other wealth managers on major regulatory, compliance and governance issues. He has advised on dozens of regulatory investigations including by ASIC, APRA, 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 M&A, 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:
- NAB – in its defence in the 'MySuper' class action in the Victorian Supreme Court. This case concerns allegations that NAB group super trustees breached their obligation to act in the members' best interests in respect of the transfer of 'accrued default amounts' to MySuper.
- Port of Newcastle – in its defence in the ACCC v NSW Ports litigation in the Federal Court. This was an important case concerning allegations that privatisation agreements entered into by NSW Ports and the State of New South Wales, and Port of Newcastle and the State, had the purpose and/or effect of substantially lessening competition.
- A major Australian bank – in its and its group licensees' disputes with advisers in relation to franchise and business agreements and with customers in relation to financial advice, including in internal dispute resolution and at AFCA.
- KPMG – in their defences in various financial statement and compliance plan auditor negligence litigation in the Federal Court.
- Macquarie – in its defence of a claim in the Victorian Supreme Court alleging breach of directors' duties and claiming rescission.
- A major industry super fund – in its responses to multiple investigations by ASIC in relation to matters including 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 Financial Services Royal Commission.
- A major Australian bank – in its response to a 3-year investigation and proposed enforcement by ASIC in relation to the bank's distribution of super products, including drafting an enforceable undertaking.
- 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.
- 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.