CFS hamstrung advisers as they left for Dover

Colonial First State withheld client information and payments to two of its former advisers as they departed for Dover Financial before later confessing to charging fees for no service.

In June 2018, ifa revealed that the Commonwealth Bank’s products manufacturing subsidiaries, CommSec Adviser Services and CFS, would be suspending payments and withdrawing authority for authorised representatives of Dover.

But earlier on 4 September 2017, in an email addressed to Dover operations and compliance manager Florence Tee, CFS head of retail sales Laird Abernethy informed Ms Tee that CFS would stop paying adviser service fees (ASFs) and commissions to both Brett and Matthew Geappen.

“This note is to inform you that given your confirmation in our phone call that no one is currently servicing those CFS clients transferred to Terry McMaster Code 4 [sic], we will be ceasing any ASFs and commissions payable on both Brett Geappen and Matthew Geappen’s account immediately,” Mr Abernethy said in the email.


“In addition, if you could please confirm by reply email that Dover has communicated to all of Brett and Matthew Geappen’s clients the decision by CFS to off-board Brett and Matthew, that would be appreciated.”

CFS would later confess in the Hayne royal commission hearings in August 2018 that they didn’t require licensees to provide confirmation ongoing services were provided to members for fees to be paid.

According to ASIC’s financial adviser register, Matthew Geappen departed Financial Wisdom for Dover on 8 December 2016, while Brett Geappen left the CBA-aligned licensee on 1 September 2017.

ASIC would later ban Matthew Geappen for five years on 30 November 2018, saying it had reason to believe he was not adequately trained or competent to provide financial services and was not of good fame or character.

However, a quality advice assurance review report from Financial Wisdom from 21 March 2016 found only three minor issues with Matthew Geappen's advice to clients.

Further, there was nothing in the review to suggest he was not adequately trained, not competent to provide financial services advice or was of poor fame and character as mentioned in ASIC’s banning order.

More to come.

CFS hamstrung advisers as they left for Dover
Laird Abernethy Colonial First state
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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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