Business News

Adviser cops ban for SMSF, LRBA set-ups

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has banned former Magnitude Group financial adviser Jason Sean Atkins from providing financial services for three years after it found he had failed to meet the best interests duty.

ASIC found Perth-based Atkins was providing advice to clients to establish an SMSF and use limited recourse borrowing arrangements to fund the purchase of real property, which was in breach of the best interests duty under the Future of Financial Advice reforms.

The corporate regulator found that in providing advice, Atkins had failed to act in the best interests of four clients.

ASIC was not satisfied he had identified the subject matter of the advice or that he conducted a reasonable investigation into the financial products that might achieve the objectives and meet the needs of the client that would reasonably be considered as relevant to advice on that subject matter.

In addition, the regulator was not satisfied Atkins understood what was required of him to comply with the best interests duty.

“Financial advisers must act in the best interests of their clients,” ASIC commissioner John Price said today.

“ASIC is committed to improving conduct in the wealth management industry and we will act to remove individuals who do not live up to the high standards expected of financial advisers.”

The banning should serve to remind financial advisers of Regulatory Guide 175 Licensing: Financial product advisers – conduct and disclosure (RG 175), ASIC said.

RG 175 includes guidance on complying with the best interests duty and satisfying the ‘safe harbour’.

Atkins has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

The banned adviser was a former authorised representative of Magnitude Group, a subsidiary of Westpac Banking Corporation, from May 2015 to December 2015.

He was appointed by a corporate authorised representative of Magnitude called Wealth Plus Solutions.

Prior to this, he was an authorised representative of Genesys Wealth Advisers from June 2013 to May 2015.

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