ASIC makes a show of banks’ SMSF, super advisers
The corporate regulator made an example of individual bank advisers who have been slapped with bans for their superannuation and SMSF advice, during what has been an explosive week at the royal commission.
A former adviser for Suncorp Financial Services, Gerald Grubwinkler, has copped a four-year ban from financial services after he failed to act in his client’s best interest when issuing superannuation and insurance advice.
Among other items, ASIC found the Queensland-based adviser failed to provide a statement of advice prior to recommending the establishment of an SMSF.
ASIC also permanently banned former financial adviser Grant Desmond Taylor, who provided financial advice regarding superannuation to a number of private clients while he was principal of his own firm and company, TFG Advice Solutions.
Mr Taylor was an authorised representative of GWM Adviser Services from December 2003 to June 2013, which is wholly owned by NAB. His firm, TFG Advice Solutions, was a corporate authorised representative of GWM from November 2012 and December 2016.
Specifically, between August 2007 and September 2016, ASIC found Mr Taylor dishonestly withdrew at least $1,951,000, primarily sourced from private client funds, and used them for personal and business expenses.
ASIC released these details in public statements this week, coinciding with its appearance at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
When deputy chair of ASIC Peter Kell fronted the royal commission this week, he also revealed that about 90 per cent of spot checks the corporate regulator did on dealer groups and licensees nationwide returned incidences of non-compliance with best interests duty in SMSF advice.
So far, ASIC’s fighting words have been met with scepticism from professionals on the ground. SMSF Adviser readers are broadly supportive of non-compliance being called out and acted on, but they are also questioning if the complex legislative and regulatory environment for SMSFs is to blame for the non-compliance, as opposed to intentionally dodgy practices of professionals.
One reader said ASIC is “asleep at the helm” if results like this are surfacing.
“Nine out of 10 SMSF advisers fail the best interest[s] duty… and all the regulator is doing [is] firing warning shots,” one reader said.
“It is just not good enough. For far too long regulatory bodies have been reactive. The softly softly approach does not work.
“If ASIC has the evidence, then prosecute. If not, then go away.”
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