Former Aon Hewitt adviser served with two-year ban

ASIC has banned a former authorised representative of Aon Hewitt Financial Advice from providing financial services for a period of two years.

The banning of Thanh Huu Tran follows a surveillance that found he was not adequately trained or is not competent to provide financial services, ASIC said in a statement.

ASIC said its surveillance focused on Mr Tran’s part in 2016 conduct by Futura Financial Group (a company of which Mr Tran was a director) that resulted in 331 Aon Master Trust (AMT) default superannuation members not switching to an AMT MySuper product.

The AMT MySuper product generally has lower fees and costs than AMT’s legacy default employer superannuation product, partly because MySuper products are prohibited from paying commissions to financial advisers.

Further, ASIC said its surveillance found that:

  • Futura sent letters to 424 clients stating that if they did not respond to the letter within 30 days, their superannuation accrued default amount and future contributions would not go to a MySuper product;
  • Following the issuing of the letter, Futura then sent an email and a text message to those clients for whom they had email and mobile phone contact details;
  • Mr Tran then instructed a staff member to log in to the adviser portal of the AMT website to make investment choices on behalf of clients who did not respond to the letter, email or text message. Where Futura received an automated notification to indicate the message failed to deliver to the mobile or email, no changes were made to the relevant client’s account; and
  • As a result, 331 clients’ default superannuation balances and future contributions were invested in the AMT’s legacy default superannuation product, instead of transitioning to MySuper, even though the clients had not given their instructions for this to happen.

ASIC noted that Mr Tran’s conduct effectively required the clients to ‘opt-in’ to MySuper, even though the government had designed the MySuper system as an opt-out scheme.

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Mr Tran has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision. The banning order for Mr Tran has been recorded on ASIC’s adviser register.

Former Aon Hewitt adviser served with two-year ban
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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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