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Adviser responds to anti-Semitic tweet scandal

The financial adviser at the centre of the anti-Semitic tweet scandal has responded to the loss of his authorised representative (AR) status, praising Libertas Financial Planning but condemning ASIC.

Despite seeing his AR status under Libertas being terminated due to a racist Twitter tirade over the weekend, Retirement Wealth Advisers principal James Howarth had positive words for the self-licensed dealer group.

"Libertas are a fantastic organisation and I would recommend them to anyone," Mr Howarth told ifa.

A report in the Courier-Mail also said that Mr Howarth was apologetic about his comments and was surprised that they were seen as anti-Semitic.

"I am honestly very sorry if anyone in the Jewish community was offended," he told the Courier-Mail.

"My comments were directed at continued Government interference in the marketplace, one that the life insurance companies have convinced the Government that they are the victim of."

Yesterday, Libertas managing director Mark Euvrard immediately terminated Mr Howarth's AR status after he directed a slew of anti-Semitic comments against Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Twitter.

He posted a series of tweets in which he calls Mr Frydenberg a "tinkering Jew" and a "central planning Jew" to his followers after the Assistant Treasurer released the Life Insurance Framework.


"It's inappropriate and unacceptable and does not reflect the culture of our dealer group and appropriate action has been taken," Mr Euvrard said yesterday.

"[Mr Howarth] has been served notice, terminating his [authorised representative status]. He now has to find a new dealer group".

The ASIC Financial Advice Register said that Retirement Wealth Advisers also has AR status under Dover Financial Advisers.

However, when contacted by ifa, a Dover Financial Advisers spokesperson said the authorisation agreement had ceased.

ASIC confirmed that the arrangement had in in fact been halted at the end of February.

"ASIC Connect Search does show that Dover Financial Advisers did cease the authorisation for Mr Howarth to be its representative on 27/2/2015. His only current authorisation is for Libertas," an ASIC spokesperson said.

"This is in conflict with the Financial Advice Register, which provides his authorisation is ongoing. This is the responsibility of Dover and we will take up this inconsistency with them shortly."

In an email exchange with ifa, Mr Howarth also vented his ire at ASIC and the dealer group structure.

"I consider the rules around financial dealer groups as very conflicted. Dealer groups are a body that essentially act like ASIC but takes up to 30 per cent of the costs for doing essentially nothing (that an auditor does not also do)," Mr Howarth wrote.

"So the effect is that the adviser has to pander to the bank/dealer group for the ability to work...True conflict of interest that is directly caused by ASIC's poor legislation."

Libertas has around 45 authorised representatives working under its AFSL.