ASIC initiates Federal Court action against SMSF accountant
The corporate regulator has commenced civil proceedings in the Federal Court against an SMSF accountant who, it alleges, failed to comply with the term of a court enforceable undertaking.
In a public statement, ASIC said it has commenced civil proceedings against Gold Coast-based accountant Jenan Oslem Thorne of Saber Superannuation Pty Ltd.
ASIC alleges that Ms Throne failed to comply with the terms of a court enforceable undertaking previously entered with ASIC.
The EU required Ms Thorne to provide certain information to each client she had provided personal advice to while an authorised representative of SMSF Advice Pty Ltd and notify ASIC in writing whether she had written to each client as required.
ASIC alleges that Ms Thorne took deliberate steps to reduce the likelihood that her clients would receive the written information required by the EU.
“For example, ASIC alleges Ms Thorne directed that the letters not be sent to some clients that had made complaints about the company and other letters be sent to client addresses from expired driver’s licenses,” the corporate regulator stated.
ASIC is seeking orders from the Federal Court directing Ms Thorne to comply with the relevant terms of the EU.
ASIC accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Ms Thorne in February last year after it found she had failed to act in the best interests of her clients and had prioritised her own interests above their interests.
Ms Thorne’s advice was reviewed by ASIC during its investigation into Park Trent Properties Group Pty Ltd. ASIC claims that Ms Thorne was receiving referrals from Park Trent to establish SMSFs.
ASIC reviewed advice provided by Ms Thorne when she was a representative of SMSF Advice Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of AMP Ltd, and concluded that she had advised some of her clients to establish SMSFs without taking their circumstances into account.
It found that Ms Thorne hadn’t properly considered her clients’ existing superannuation arrangements or explored why they were interested in investing in direct residential property through an SMSF. When recommending SMSFs to some of her clients, she had inappropriately scoped advice by excluding insurance and retirement planning.
It also found that Ms Thorne did not adequately stress-test SMSF strategies and had recommended SMSFs to some of her clients despite inadequate evidence to suggest that the strategies would provide increased retirement benefits.
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.