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(Adds Consumer Council, DNB comments)
OSLO, May 9 (Reuters) - Norwegian banking group DNB's asset management arm has overcharged fund investors and must compensate around 180,000 customers, an appeals court ruled on Thursday, in what was billed as a test case for the industry.
Based on the judges' guidelines, DNB will have to pay out a total of around 345 million Norwegian crowns ($39.4 million) in compensation, according to calculations by Norway's Consumer Council, which pursued the case on behalf of investors.
That is half the 690 million crowns the council had claimed in Norway's biggest ever class action lawsuit.
DNB was not immediately available to comment on the level of compensation.
The bank had denied its asset management arm charged customers for actively managing funds when in reality they were tracking a stock market index - a much cheaper service to provide.
DNB said on Thursday it would consider whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.
"DNB believes the customers got what they were promised," it said in an e-mailed statement.
The verdict reversed the findings of a lower court, which in January 2018 ruled in favour of DNB.
The case concerned people who invested in three separate funds between January 2010 and December 2014.
The Consumer Council argued the case had implications beyond the specific claim against DNB, saying it could help protect people's savings and pensions from overcharging in the future.
($1 = 8.7578 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Keith Weir and Mark Potter)