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War with Dover ‘destroyed me’, says ex-adviser

A former Dover adviser has revealed how ASIC’s rush to ban her in response to complaints from her former CBA-aligned dealer group has left her “destroyed” and “devastated”.

In December last year, ASIC banned former adviser Julie Hamilton for three years for failing to act in her clients’ best interests.

The corporate regulator found Ms Hamilton had failed to:

  • make enquiries into her clients' financial circumstances when recommending switching their superannuation and insurance;
  • consider her clients' circumstances when providing advice on superannuation and insurance;
  • give priority to the interests of her clients when providing advice; and
  • disclose fees and charges associated with the implementation of her advice.

But speaking exclusively to ifa, Dover Financial director Terry McMaster said ASIC’s treatment Ms Hamilton couldn’t be more different to that of the big four banks.

He said ASIC “sped to respond” to a complaint from Colonial First State (CFS), who he said had cut off Ms Hamilton and denied her access to its platform.

In addition, Mr McMaster said Ms Hamilton’s client fees stopped the same day and were instead kept by CFS.

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“It was just one of a series of nasty CBA moves to harm Julie, enrich the CFS and deter other CBA Group advisers from jumping ship and joining Dover,” he said.

In response, Mr McMaster noted Ms Hamilton’s response, which was to transfer her 15 clients from CFS’s platform to the Macquarie platform.

He then said Ms Hamilton did this to access client information and “competently advise” her clients going forward and not to ensure her ongoing income from those clients, as was apparently the complaint from CFS.

According to Mr McMaster, CFS complained that Ms Hamilton’s conduct was a breach of her best interests’ duty.

Mr McMaster said ASIC immediately referred the matter to delegate Graeme Plath and demanded he ban Ms Hamilton.

Ms Hamilton said the ban “basically destroyed me and my credibility in the eyes of my clients and my peers”.

“I lost my identity, my business, my income, my credibility, my house and almost my sanity. I was truly devastated. All my old clients were abandoned, and I could do nothing about it,” she said.

“I was a mortgage broker as well but unfortunately my aggregator is owned by a big bank and has a policy against anyone who has a banning order, so I lost that licence as well.

“I am a shell of a human being now and have found it difficult finding a way through this. At 63, your options are not great.”

More to come.

War with Dover ‘destroyed me’, says ex-adviser
war with dover
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Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is a deputy editor at Momentum Media, focusing mainly on banking, wealth management and financial services. He has also written for Public Accountant, Accountants Daily and The CEO Magazine.

You can contact him on [email protected].

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