ASIC has permanently banned former financial adviser Neil Bruce Trower from providing any financial services.
Mr Trower is a former representative of Millennium 3 Financial Services Pty Ltd (M3), and a former employee of Lifestyle Financial Services (Qld) Pty Ltd a corporate representative of M3, who provided risk advice from the outer Brisbane suburb of Cashmere.
M3 is the holder of an Australian financial services licence and is ultimately owned by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ).
ASIC found that between August 2015 and December 2015, Mr Trower had:
- not complied with a financial services law by failing to give a number of his clients a Statement of Advice, asrequired, at the time he provided them with oral financial advice; and
- applied the signatures of a number of clients to both internal and external documents for the purpose of passing an internal compliance audit.
Further, ASIC found Mr Trower's conduct to be dishonest, as he did not tell the affected clients that he had applied their signatures to documents. He submitted these documents to the internal audit team knowing that the team would rely on the documents as being genuine during the conduct of the audit.
The M3 audit team identified the signature irregularities during an internal audit of Mr Trower's files and reported them to ASIC.
ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'Certain compliance requirements are in place for advisers to ensure they are meeting their obligations to clients, and to ensure they act honestly and with integrity. Anyone whose conduct falls short of these standards will be removed from the financial services industry.'
Mr Trower has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
The banning of Mr Trower 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 38 advisers from the financial services industry. Two adviser bannings are the subject of appeals.