ASIC has banned a Queensland-based adviser from providing financial services for five years, on the charge of providing inappropriate advice to clients and failing to act in their best interests.
The expelled adviser, Gregory Forster, was a representative of ANZ-owned Millenium3 from 2014 to 2018 and Breakaway Finance Group from 2012 to 2014.
The regulator said the action was part of its Wealth Management Project, which is focusing on the conduct of Australia’s largest financial advice licensees – NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP.
ASIC said Mr Forster had failed to take into account his clients' actual circumstances when providing advice and recommending new superannuation and insurance products, instead obtaining limited information and making assumptions about their personal circumstances.
ASIC said Mr Forster recommended insurance in many cases where the premiums were unaffordable.
“Even though the premiums were paid out of his clients’ superannuation, sometimes they were significantly more than his clients’ normal superannuation contributions, potentially leading to erosion of the clients’ superannuation balance,” ASIC said.
“ASIC found that Mr Forster had made those recommendations even though the clients had originally sought his advice because they were unhappy with their superannuation balance.”
Mr Forster was said to significantly understate the costs associated with implementation of his advice, particularly costs associated with running a self-managed super fund (SMSF).
In some other cases, ASIC also found that Mr Forster had not complied with the requirements for a statement of advice (SOA) – instead of disclosing the dollar value of fees, he had described fees in percentage terms.
Mr Forster’s banning will be recorded on the Financial Advisers Register and on the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register.
In 2017, ASIC entered into an enforceable undertaking with Mr Forster’s former licensee, Breakaway Finance, which required Breakaway to cancel its AFSL.
As part of its Wealth Management Project, ASIC has banned 53 advisers and one director from the financial services industry.
Five bannings are the subject of appeals.
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