The corporate regulator said the adviser failed to prioritise his clients’ interests over his own.
ASIC has banned Melbourne-based financial adviser David Noel Ruthenberg from providing financial services for a period of three years.
The regulator said that Mr Ruthenberg, who operated through his own financial planning practice trading as Venture Advisory Consulting, and was an authorised representative of The FinancialLink Group Holdings (FLGH) at the time of the misconduct, had recommended some of his clients invest in the high-risk Investport Income Opportunity Fund between June 2015 and September 2017.
“Mr Ruthenberg had a specific interest in the fund via personal borrowings and ASIC found that he failed to prioritise his clients’ interests above his own when recommending they invest in the fund,” ASIC said.
“Further, the high-risk nature of the investment did not match his clients’ risk profiles or experience, and Mr Ruthenberg was found to have failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into alternative financial products that could have met the clients’ needs.”
Mr Ruthenberg is also prohibited from managing, supervising or auditing the provision of financial services and from providing training about financial services and products.
ASIC said that the banning, effective from 3 August 2021, was part of its ongoing efforts to improve standards across the financial services industry.
Last November, a three-year ban was also handed down to another authorised representative of FLGH, Queensland-based adviser Keith McDermott.
According to ASIC, the Investport Income Opportunity Fund is a registered managed investment scheme operated by Endeavour Securities and is an entity related to FLGH.
Endeavour Securities was ordered to be wound up in 2019 after contravening multiple provisions of the Corporations Act. The Federal Court also ordered that the Investport Income Opportunity Fund be placed into liquidation.
In August last year, Mr Ruthenberg lodged an application for review of ASIC’s decision with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and applied to the Tribunal for a stay of ASIC’s decision.
He subsequently withdrew his application for review of ASIC’s decision and the application was dismissed by the AAT on 10 June 2022.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.
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