ASIC has permanently banned a former Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited (CFPL) financial planner from providing any financial services after it found he forged client signatures and failed to comply with financial services laws.
Ricky David Gillespie, of Southport, Queensland, was a senior financial planner for CFPL between 2006 and 2009.
An ASIC investigation found during 2008 and 2009, Mr Gillespie:
- failed to comply with financial services laws
- forged clients’ signatures on documents such as a Direct Debit Request, Transaction Without Advice Documents, Confidential Fact Finder and Financial Services Guide Receipts
- created false file notes
- engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in issuing financial product information in the form of a marketing letter which contained representations that were false or misleading
- provided advice to a client that was not appropriate in the circumstances, and
- charged excessive fees.
‘ASIC considers Mr Gillespie’s conduct to be serious. Mr Gillespie’s wrongdoing was not an isolated incident. Instead Mr Gillespie engaged in a series of conscious and deliberate acts designed to disguise and conceal his non-compliance with statutory requirements and policies put in place by CFPL,’ ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said.
‘ASIC will continue to take action and remove advisers who breach community trust.’
This latest outcome follows ASIC enforcement action against other former CFPL financial advisers, Don Nguyen, Simon Langton (refer 12-02AD), Christopher Baker (refer 12-63AD), Anthony Awkar (refer 12-81MR), Jane Duncan (refer 12-80MR), and Joe Chan (refer 12-111MR), and reflects ASIC’s commitment to ensuring financial advisers meet required standards to maintain consumer confidence in the financial services system.
On 25 October 2011, ASIC accepted an enforceable undertaking from CFPL requiring them to review their risk management framework and address deficiencies. Further, where clients are found to have been adversely impacted by the conduct of representatives, CFPL will consider the circumstances and appropriately remediate the client (refer11-229MR).
The majority of Mr Gillespie’s impacted clients have already been compensated by CFPL. Former clients of Mr Gillespie or clients of other CFPL advisers who feel they may be entitled to claim compensation should contact CFPL directly on 1800 507 281.
Mr Gillespie has appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision. An order made by the AAT staying ASIC’s decision was lifted following a hearing by the AAT on 8 November 2012.
On 11 July 2013 , Mr Gillespie withdrew his application for review in the AAT. As a consequence the application was dismissed by the AAT, and Mr Gillespie remains banned permanently from providing any financial services.