The corporate regulator has permanently banned four individuals from providing financial advice during the year that ended on 30 June – a significant drop from last year’s 14 banned advisers.
According to ASIC’s 2015-2016 annual report, in cases related to financial advice, only four individuals were permanently banned or agreed to stay out of the industry permanently.
A further six individuals were banned or agreed to stay out of the industry for shorter periods – another hefty drop from last year’s 23 temporarily banned advisers.
ASIC also cancelled, suspended or placed conditions on seven AFS licences, with five additional AFS licensees voluntarily handing in their licence.
The results derived from 130 “high intensity surveillance” activities, which ASIC conducted to monitor how financial advisers complied with their advice conduct obligations.
“In 84 surveillances, we detected and responded to failure by financial advisers,” ASIC said.
At least some of the year's bans were part of ASIC's Wealth Management Project, which was launched in October 2014 to “lift the standards of major financial advice providers, the quality of their financial advice, and their remuneration programs for clients who have suffered loss as a result of their failure or action”, the report said.
The regulator said it has achieved “significant regulatory outcomes” against licensees and advisers over the life of the project, which include bannings, enforceable undertakings, conditions and fines as well as criminal proceedings.
CBA received the most action in the Wealth Management Project, with six of ASIC’s 22 outcomes occurring at the bank.
NAB saw five of the outcomes occur at its business while Macquare Bank saw four and AMP saw five. ANZ and Westpac received two ASIC actions each.
ASIC added that the project includes working with these institutions on compliance and remediation programs.
Last week, the regulator announced it found thousands of instances at the big four banks where customers were being charged a fee for ongoing financial advice services they never received.
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