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Court orders adviser to repay client fees

A former financial adviser has been convicted of five offences relating to the provision of inappropriate advice to five clients.

Kevin Whitting pleaded guilty in Victoria’s Frankston Magistrate’s Court, was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay back more than $684,000 in total to the five affected clients, according to an ASIC statement.

Mr Whitting also admitted to five further charges of providing false and misleading statements to three of the five clients.

The money was invested in the Blue Diamond Deposits Trust No. 1 (BDT) between September 2008 and January 2009. BDT, a managed investment scheme, collapsed in 2010 with deficiencies of $22 million, according to a statement by ASIC.

An ASIC spokesperson confirmed that Mr Whitting had no commercial involvement with BDT apart from receiving commissions.

“As an authorised representative of a financial services licensee, he provided advice to the retail client concerning investment in the BDT which advice was inappropriate to that client, having regard to his consideration and investigation of the subject matter of the advice and the information obtained from the client in relation to their relevant personal circumstances,” the spokesperson told ifa.

Mr Whitting was banned in May 2011 for four years for failing to comply with financial services laws between May 2007 and February 2009.

During this period Mr Whitting was employed by Shelbourne Financial Services, an authorised representative of Kedesco Pty Ltd. At the time of Mr Whitting’s banning order, Kedesco had their license suspended for three months and has now been deregistered.

Shelbourne Financial Services was also deregistered earlier this year.