Rising star falls from grace

Rising star falls from grace

A former AFA Rising Star award nominee is facing expulsion from the association’s membership after an ASIC investigation found breaches that included undisclosed commission payments.

Last week, ASIC announced that Queensland-based licensee LCL Capital has entered into an enforceable undertaking (EU) after an investigation found inadequacies in the company’s supervision of authorised representatives.

In particular, the EU raises concerns over the behaviour of senior adviser Timothy Daniel Bryce – listed as a director of LCL Capital on the firm’s website – who stands accused of failing to “adequately disclose commissions payable to clients” and to “demonstrate a reasonable basis for the advice provided” among a number of breaches.

ASIC’s investigation into Mr Bryce began in June 2013 as part of a wider investigation into his former licensee, collapsed firm Sherwin Financial Planners – an entity of the Wickham Securities group, now in liquidation.

During that same period, Mr Bryce was nominated as a candidate for the 2013 AFA Rising Star award, and describes himself as a “finalist” in the award program on his personal LinkedIn profile.

Self-description notwithstanding, AFA chief executive Brad Fox told ifa that Mr Bryce did not proceed to the finalist stage of the competition, thereby indicating that the judging process for the awards is “robust and efficient”.

Mr Fox also revealed that Mr Bryce is now “subject to disciplinary procedures following the ASIC enforceable undertaking”, including the possibility of expulsion from the AFA.

“The AFA Member By-Laws in conjunction with the AFA’s Code of Ethics give wide-ranging powers to the association to enforce appropriate member behaviour,” Mr Fox said.

“Remedies for breaches include the ability to expel a member, suspend a member, withdraw membership privileges, or to reprimand the member in any other appropriate way.”

At the same time, Mr Fox explained that since no criminal charges or ASIC banning order have been brought against Mr Bryce, the disciplinary committee may also consider “rehabilitation” rather than expulsion or punitive measures.

“The AFA recognises that there is no legal compulsion placed on financial advisers to be a member of a professional body to retain their authorisation to provide financial advice and as such the expulsion of a member may have little or minimal impact on the expelled adviser's ability to continue advising or their future conduct,” he said.

More broadly, Mr Fox said the AFA Rising Star award remains “a recognised catalyst to attract new entrants into the professional career of financial advice”, having previously “uncovered a significant number of highly talented individuals that have become leaders within the marketplace”.

Rising star falls from grace
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