Michael

16-323MR ASIC bans former Westpac financial adviser

ASIC has banned Adelaide financial adviser Michael Mahoney from providing financial services for a period of four years.

Mr Mahoney was employed by the BT Financial Group Pty Ltd (BTFG) in the Westpac Scaled Advice Insurance business from October 2013 to July 2014 to provide general advice only to retail clients on insurance products.

ASIC's investigation found that during the period Mr Mahoney was employed at BTFG, he engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive. Specifically, he entered false information regarding various clients' health or health-risk factors in telephone applications for insurance policies issued by Westpac Life Insurance Services Ltd (WLIS). This resulted in WLIS issuing policies to clients based on false information and assuming greater risks without having an opportunity to undertake an assessment of those risks.

WLIS has agreed to honour the affected client policies.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'This outcome shows that ASIC expects employees who are providing financial services to maintain high standards and not engage in conduct that is misleading and deceptive.'

Mr Mahoney has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.

Background

This outcome is a result of ASIC's Wealth Management Project. The Wealth Management Project was established in October 2014 with the objective of lifting standards by major financial advice providers. The Wealth Management Project focuses on the conduct of the largest financial advice firms (NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, AMP and Macquarie).

ASIC's work in the Wealth Management Project covers a number of areas including:

  1. working with the largest financial advice firms to address the identification and remediation of non-compliant advice;
  2. seeking regulatory outcomes when appropriate against Licensees and advisers.

As part of its Wealth Management Project, ASIC has banned the following advisers from the financial services industry, in addition to Mr Mahoney: