The corporate regulator has permanently banned an ANZ-aligned adviser for dishonestly banking cheques from clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account.
Robert Hutchison, of Lower Chittering in Western Australia, was an authorised representative of RI Advice between 14 May 2007 and 30 November 2012, ASIC said in a statement. RI Advice is a licensee owned by OnePath, a subsidiary of ANZ Banking Group.
ASIC said an investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012 Mr Hutchison dishonestly banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account, when he knew he was obliged to remit or report them to RI Advice.
Mr Hutchison then deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial product for payment to RI Advice, the statement said.
In addition, Mr Hutchison failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.
ASIC noted that Mr Hutchison misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them that they had been double charged advice fees and failed to comply with the proper process for remitting and reporting the fees.
He also misled or deceived RI Advice by failing to disclose that he had deposited the advice fees into his own account and did not comply with RI Advice’s relevant fees, policies and procedures.
“ASIC will continue to protect consumers by removing people from the financial services industry who act dishonestly and breach the trust of their clients,” said ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell.
Mr Hutchison has the right to appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision, the statement said.
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