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Lionsgate reps hit back at ASIC

Authorised representatives of Lionsgate have defended the dealer group following the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC's) placing of conditions on its licence over supervision concerns.

The public reprimand of Lionsgate is part of a wider regulatory move against independent financial planning groups, Angelo D’Ambrosio of ADA Group, a Melbourne-based Lionsgate practice, told ifa.

“Lionsgate is one of the few remaining non-aligned dealer groups left and this [ASIC communication] is just another case of a regulator trying to kill off the non-aligned dealers and their authorised representatives,” D’Ambrosio said.

“ASIC should pull its head in,” he added. “It says it supports full disclosure and fee-for-service and a ban on commissions – as do I – but then it puts out a statement like this about one of the few dealer groups that is doing the right thing and not just pushing products.”

Rejecting ASIC’s concerns over the resources apportioned by the 103-adviser licensee to supervising its authorised representatives, D’Ambrosio said in the 12 months since he joined Lionsgate he had received regular audits, compliance reminders and communications.

“The idea that they have not given their authorised reps sufficient supervision is complete [nonsense],” he said.

“Lionsgate actually allows you to be a real financial adviser and provide strategic advice rather than just flog products.”

D’Ambrosio said he regrets that authorised representatives have been tarnished by ASIC’s decision to publicly voice its concerns, claiming that a number of referral partners have reacted negatively to the news.

The regulator should “get its facts straight” and should consult with authorised representatives before publicly rebuking a licensee, he added.

Lionsgate authorised representative Andrew Newman of CMP Financial Planning has also defended his dealer group against the allegations.

“It hasn’t changed my perspective on Lionsgate; I’m pretty happy with their service,” he said.

“My understanding is that this is just ASIC doing spot checks and when they step in they’re going to find something.

“Everyone’s sick of the regulation. It’s a pain in the arse, but that’s the way its heading.”