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ASIC accepts EU from Countplus-aligned adviser

ASIC has accepted an enforceable undertaking from a Queensland adviser after a surveillance found he was using a one-size-fits-all approach with clients.

In a statement, the corporate regulator said under the EU, Brian Dobinson is permanently prohibited from being involved in any capacity with the provision of financial services or products.

Mr Dobinson was an authorised representative of dealer group Total Financial Solutions Australia between 1 October 2010 and 11 December 2015.

In October 2015, ASIC imposed additional conditions on the AFSL of Total Financial after one of its reps was found to be providing "concerning" advice, including using a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Total Financial is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Countplus, which is publicly listed on the ASX. Count Financial, which is owned by CBA, is the largest single shareholder of Countplus.

According to ASIC, Mr Dobinson provided financial product advice through his related entities, including Dobinson Financial, Dobinson Holdings Pty Ltd and Lighthouse Redcliffe Pty Ltd.

ASIC said Mr Dobinson failed to properly consider and advise whether it was in the best interests of a client to switch from existing defined benefit superannuation products to accumulation superannuation products.


He also advised clients to switch super funds when it was not appropriate and disclosed fees and charges in a way that made the recommended product appear cheaper than it actually was.

Following these concerns, Total Financial Solutions Australia implemented a remediation program for all clients who received advice from Mr Dobinson.

"This program is being overseen by an independent expert with the aim of ensuring any clients who were provided advice that was not in their best interests by Mr Dobinson will receive appropriate remediation including, if applicable, compensation," ASIC said.

ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said: "In instances where advice is provided to consumers to switch from existing superannuation products, especially defined benefit-style funds, the adviser must ensure all necessary investigation of both the existing and recommended products has been undertaken.

"ASIC will not tolerate advisers who place their interests above those of their client and provide product advice that is not appropriate to the client," he said.

ASIC's review of advice commenced after potential systemic concerns relating to advice provided by Mr Dobinson were brought to ASIC's attention.


ASIC accepts EU from Countplus-aligned adviser
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