The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has imposed additional licence conditions on an advice business owned and operated by the National Tax and Accountants’ Association (NTAA).
The corporate regulator imposed the conditions on the licence of SMSF Advisers Network (SAN) after it found some of its advisers failed to demonstrate compliance with the best interest duty and related obligations.
ASIC stated it had begun surveillance of SAN after it noticed a significant increase in adviser numbers at the group over a short period of time.
As a result of this, it reviewed a number of SAN’s client files and found statement of advice documents relied heavily on templated wording and many of the client files lacked evidence to support advisers’ recommendations that clients establish an SMSF.
It was also concerned SAN had inadequate supervision processes in place to ensure advice provided by its representatives was in the best interests of clients.
Under the additional licence conditions, SAN will be required to engage an independent expert to review and test the compliance of advice provided by its advisers and to assess whether it has appropriate supervision mechanisms in place to ensure its advisers are meeting the best interest duty and related obligations.