ASIC bans adviser for 3 years over high-risk investments
ASIC has banned a Queensland-based adviser for three years for misappropriating advice and recommending clients to invest a large percentage of retirement savings in a high-risk fund.
ASIC has banned Queensland-based adviser Keith Robert McDermott from providing financial services for three years.
The three-year ban also prohibits Mr McDermott from managing, supervising or auditing the provision of financial services and prohibits him from the provision of training about financial services and products.
ASIC’s surveillance looked at advice Mr McDermott provided to clients while he was an authorised representative of Australian financial services (AFS) licensee, The FinancialLink Group (TFLG).
“ASIC found Mr McDermott recommended some of his clients invest in a high-risk fund, the Investport Income Opportunity Fund (the Fund),” ASIC stated.
“The high-risk nature of the investment did not match those clients’ risk profiles. Mr McDermott also recommended that some clients invest a high percentage of their retirement savings in the Fund, magnifying the risks for those clients.”
ASIC identified Mr McDermott failed to provide advice that was appropriate and/or in his clients’ best interests. Mr McDermott’s actions failed to prioritise his clients’ interests ahead of his own and those of his licensee.
“In addition, Mr McDermott failed to disclose the charges, lost benefits and other significant consequences, including the risks, arising from his recommendation to switch client funds from existing financial products into the Fund,” ASIC added.
“Advisers have a duty to provide advice that prioritises their client’s interests ahead of their own interests and/or the interests of their licensee.”
The banning of Mr McDermott is part of ASIC’s ongoing efforts to improve standards across the financial services industry.
Mr McDermott’s banning, which was effective from 3 August 2021, has been recorded on ASIC’s publicly available Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified register.
Mr McDermott was an authorised representative of TFLG from 19 February 2014.
The Investport Income Opportunity Fund (ARSN 121 875 009) is a registered managed investment scheme operated by Endeavour Securities (Australia) Limited (under external administration). The Fund is an entity related to Mr McDermott’s former licensee, TFLG.
If any financial advice clients have concerns about the advice they have received, they should lodge a complaint with the AFS licensee in the first instance. If a client is dissatisfied with the AFS licensee’s response to their complaint, they can lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
ASIC’s Moneysmart website has useful information for consumers whose advisers have been banned.
Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.
Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.