Financial adviser can appeal ban

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A Lower Chittering financial adviser misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them they had been double charged advice fees, according to ASIC.

BANKING clients’ cheques in his own personal bank account has led to a Lower Chittering financial adviser being banned by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

In a statement the commission said it had permanently banned Robert Hutchison from providing financial services.

But Mr Hutchison has the right to appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the commission’s decision.

“Mr Hutchison is a director of WAWM Investment Holdings Pty Limited and was an authorised representative of RI Advice Group between May 14, 2007 and November 30, 2012,’’ the statement said.

RI Advice is an Australian financial services licensee owned by OnePath, a subsidiary of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited.

The statement said an investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012 Mr Hutchison dishonestly banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account, when he knew he was obliged to remit or report them to RI Advice.

“Mr Hutchison then deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial product for payment to RI Advice and banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account and failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.

“Mr Hutchison misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them that they had been double charged advice fees and failed to comply with the proper process for remitting and reporting the fees.

“He also misled or deceived RI Advice by failing to disclose that he had deposited the advice fees into his own account and did not comply with RI Advice’s relevant fees policies and procedures.’’

ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said ASIC would continue to protect consumers by removing people from the financial services industry who acted dishonestly and breached the trust of their clients.

Mr Hutchison has the right to appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.