ASIC has banned Kimberley Holgate, of Wagga Wagga, NSW, from providing financial services for five years.
Ms Holgate was an authorised representative of Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited (CFPL) from January 2014 to October 2015.
ASIC found that Ms Holgate:
- engaged in conduct that was likely to mislead by cutting clients' signatures from documents held on file and pasting them onto new documents;
- did not act in the best interests of her clients when advising they rollover their existing super to a new product issued by Colonial First State, a related entity of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia;
- did not act in the best interests of her clients by advising them to cancel existing insurance policies and apply for personal insurance issued by CommInsure; and
- failed to prioritise the interests of her clients when advising them to acquire financial products which entitled her, her employer and its related entities to a financial benefit.
The super advice provided by Ms Holgate did not result in any improvement to the clients' current financial position.
In relation to the insurance advice, Ms Holgate cancelled clients' existing insurance prior to replacement cover being approved. As a result, some clients were left without insurance cover at all, others were without insurance cover for a period of time and some had to pay increased premiums and fees.
Ms Holgate's banning will be recorded on ASIC's Financial Advisers Register.
Ms Holgate has to the right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
The banning of Ms Holgate is part of ASIC's Wealth Management Project. The Wealth Management Project was established in October 2014 to lift the standards of major financial advice providers. The Wealth Management Project focuses on the conduct of the largest financial advice firms (NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP).
ASIC's work in the Wealth Management Project covers a number of areas including:
- working with the largest financial advice firms to address the identification and remediation of non-compliant advice; and
- seeking regulatory outcomes, where appropriate, against licensees and advisers.
As part of its Wealth Management Project, ASIC has banned 40 advisers. Five adviser bannings are the subject of appeals, with a further banning stayed pending the outcome of an appeal.
ASIC's MoneySmart website has useful information for clients of advisers to help them understand what to do if their adviser has been banned.