Investment dispute bankrupts adviser

A financial adviser banned by ASIC this week has spoken out about the events that lead to his bankruptcy, pointing to a dispute with a client over an investment in the US property market.

Former financial adviser Alistair McCreath – who was banned from giving financial advice for nine months on Monday – told ifa yesterday that his situation stemmed from a $320,000 dispute with a client.

Mr McCreath explained that a bankruptcy application was filed against him after a client disputed an investment in offshore property in the United States when a broker working for his company “sent the wrong contract”.

“[The client] put the money into my account, I did buy the property, then they didn’t want it,” he said.

Having been overseas when the proceedings were initiated, and uninformed of the development, Mr McCreath said he was unable to raise the capital to fight the application within the remaining 12-day period and was subsequently declared bankrupt.

ASIC’s decision to ban Mr McCreath – in accordance with Section 920A of the Corporations Act – occurred more than two years after the initial bankruptcy declaration.

Describing himself as a “very passionate insurance man who believes in it desperately”, Mr McCreath said he had a $12,000 book of risk business he intended to pass on to his son Stuart, a “qualified financial planner”, whom he envisaged would continue the business.

However, Mr McCreath said the banning order had made this unlikely, with a licensee declining to license the firm in the past 24 hours and other business falling through.

“I was never going to be [writing the business], but they’ve stopped my son now as well,” he said. “I’ve made mistakes, but this is unfair, this is just totally unfair.

“[The ASIC intervention] punishes [my staff members], my son – because he is part of the business although he had nothing to do with it – and it denies me the right to make a living.

“I am no longer a financial planner, I am no longer a real estate agent, I can’t do mortgages and I can’t sell insurance. Not only will you bankrupt me [but] the company as well because I honestly don’t think we can survive.”

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