In a public statement, ASIC said Brisbane-based financial adviser Christopher Ramsay has been banned from providing financial services for five years after failing to act in the best interests of his clients, and giving advice that was not appropriate.
Mr Ramsay was an employee representative of Westpac Banking Corporation from 2010 to 2015; and an authorised representative of GWM Adviser Services Limited, a company wholly owned by the National Australia Bank Limited from 2015 to 2017.
ASIC found that Mr Ramsay failed in his obligations when he provided advice to his Westpac and GWM clients to switch their superannuation and insurance products.
“In some cases he failed to make appropriate inquiries to assess whether the clients' existing products met the clients' needs,” said the corporate regulator.
In other cases, ASIC said it found that Mr Ramsay provided misleading fee comparison tables in advice documents which suggested the recommended fund was cheaper than the clients' existing fund, when either this was not the case, or Mr Ramsay was not comparing similar fee structures.
ASIC said that Mr Ramsay also provided a misleading statement in the advice document which stated the client’s existing insurer did not offer income protection insurance, when it did.
As a consequence of Mr Ramsay's failings, ASIC said that clients paid substantially more for some products than they had previously paid and had understood they would pay.
“In some cases the higher cost of products recommended significantly reduced the clients' superannuation savings without the clients' knowledge,” said the corporate regulator.
Mr Ramsay has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.