ASIC investigates AFSL for poor SMSF advice

A national self-licensed financial planning firm has agreed to an external independent review after an investigation by the corporate regulator raised concerns of inappropriate SMSF advice.

According to a statement from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), AFSL holder Anne Street Partners Financial Services has agreed to address ASIC’s concerns and make changes to its financial product advice process.

ASIC surveillance found concerns relating to the low balance with which SMSFs were established; the advice not being sufficiently tailored to the needs of each client; and inadequate comparison of clients' existing superannuation with the recommended SMSF.

Concerns also stemmed from inadequate consideration of suitable alternative strategies that would have met clients' needs and inadequate consideration of clients' long-term retirement planning objectives.

The surveillance also found issues with the management of conflicts of interest and monitoring of advisers.

The firm will now undertake an independent review into the SMSF advice provided to its clients, and its monitoring and conflicts management processes.

“The decision to establish an SMSF is a significant step for an investor because it involves greater personal responsibility,” said ASIC senior executive leader Louise Macaulay.

“Those providing financial advice must ensure that they take into consideration consumers' individual circumstances and make sure the advice adequately meets their needs.”

This statement follows ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer's warning last week that the regulator is continuing to monitor the SMSF space for misconduct. 

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