The corporate regulator has admitted it has no evidence to date that any client was deceived or misled by Dover Financial’s Client Protection Policy, which was one of its main justifications for shutting down the licensee.
In an affidavit submitted to the Federal Court dated 30 January 2019, ASIC solicitor Tristan Moseby said he sought orders for documents relating to whether anyone was misled or deceived by Dover’s Client Protection Policy or suffered loss as a result of being misled or deceived by the CPP.
The affidavit was made in support of ASIC’s opposition to a discovery application filed by Dover Financial and its director Terry McMaster on 21 December 2018.
ASIC’s investigation was done in collaboration with James McAllister-Harris, a lawyer in ASIC’s financial services enforcement team.
But in the affidavit, Mr Moseby said he was informed by Mr McAllister-Harris that, based on his enquiries with ASIC team members to date, it is “very unlikely” that ASIC has possession of any documents that would show anyone had been misled, deceived or suffered loss as a result of any reliance on the CPP at any time after 25 September 2015.
“Based on my involvement in this matter to date, I am also not presently aware of any documents tending to show that any person has been subjectively misled or deceived by the CPP, or has suffered loss as a result of any reliance on the CPP, during the relevant period the subject of this proceeding,” Mr Moseby said.
The affidavit noted Mr McAllister-Harris had spent about 50 hours to date in relation to the investigation, and that Mr Moseby had spent around eight hours.
As for further work in relation to the investigation, Mr Moseby said it would require ASIC about another 236 hours, or two full-time ASIC staff members to spend 20 working days to complete the work in response to Dover’s discovery application.
He also said ASIC identified 4,000 documents that may be relevant, and that the figure is likely higher if it is required to carry out further searches across its case managements databases.
Back in September 2018, Mr McMaster argued that Dover was fully compliant and that ASIC made no complaints about its CPP during a 2016 audit.
Dover Financial shut down its AFSL in June 2018 following an agreement with ASIC.
More to come.
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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