Adviser banned for best interests failure

ASIC SMSF adviser

ASIC has banned a financial adviser for six years for failing to prioritise his SMSF clients’ interests.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned a Melbourne-based adviser for failing to act in the best interests of his SMSF clients during his time as a representative of Apogee Financial Planning.

Jihad Soleiman, who was an authorised representative of Apogee from June 2013 to February 2018, was banned for six years for failing to prioritise his clients’ interests when advising them on the establishment of their SMSFs.

“Clients of Mr Soleiman approached him for advice about establishing SMSFs for the purposes of either investing into property or property development companies,” ASIC said.

“Mr Soleiman had a conflict of interest because his clients were looking to invest through his brothers who were in the property development business.

“Mr Soleiman referred his clients to an SMSF administration business to facilitate the establishment of their SMSFs without providing advice. He then provided advice to rollover their existing super funds into their recently established SMSFs.”

ASIC found in respect to the advice Soleiman provided to four clients during his time as an Apogee representative, he had not addressed how an SMSF property investment strategy would meet his clients’ retirement objectives, and had focused his advice on rolling over to SMSFs without giving enough consideration to whether his clients would be better off keeping their existing super funds.

In addition, the corporate regulator found he had failed to provide information about significant risks and consequences when recommending that his clients rollover their funds to SMSFs in order to invest in property.

Despite being told by Apogee he did not have the required expertise to provide SMSF advice, Soleiman continued the practice.

ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said: “It is essential that before consumers commit to a significant decision to establish an SMSF, that they have access to quality advice that is tailored to their personal circumstances.”

Earlier this month, ASIC disqualified two SMSF auditors and imposed conditions on a third SMSF auditor, following concerns they had failed to meet ASIC requirements.

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