ASIC bans former Westpac adviser

A former Westpac financial adviser has been banned for four years after an ASIC investigation found he had engaged in “deceptive and misleading” conduct.

In a statement, ASIC said Michael Mahoney was employed at BT Financial Group in the Westpac Scaled Advice Insurance business from October 2013 to July 2014.

He provided general advice only to retail clients on insurance products, the statement said.

An ASIC investigation found that during the period Mr Mahoney was employed at BTFG, he had engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive.

For example, he entered false information regarding various clients’ health or health-risk factors in telephone applications for insurance policies issued by Westpac Life Insurance Services (WLIS).

“This resulted in WLIS issuing policies to clients based on false information and assuming greater risks without having an opportunity to undertake an assessment of those risks,” ASIC said.

WLIS has agreed to honour the affected client policies, the statement said.

ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said, “This outcome shows that ASIC expects employees who are providing financial services to maintain high standards and not engage in conduct that is misleading and deceptive.”

Mr Mahoney has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

A BT spokesperson said: "BT terminated Mr Mahoney's employment in July 2014 after our internal controls detected this activity."

"We voluntarily reported Mr Mahoney to ASIC and support ASIC's decision today. There was no adverse customer impact and all policies were honoured. We have always taken our responsibility to our customers and our ASIC reporting obligations very seriously and we do not tolerate advisers who do not meet our standards."

This article has been updated to include BT's response.

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