ASIC bans Onepath-owned AR

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has permanently banned a former RI Advice Group authorised representative from providing financial services.

Robert Hutchison from Perth, the authorised representative of the Onepath-owned firm, which is a subsidiary of ANZ, was found to have misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them that they had been double charged advice fees and failed to comply with the proper process for remitting and reporting the fees.

He had also misled or deceived RI Advice by failing to disclose that he had deposited the advice fees into his own account and did not comply with RI Advice’s relevant fees policies and procedures.

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The banning formed a part of ASIC’s Wealth Management Project, which has thus far banned 39 advisers from the financial services industry in addition to Hutchison.

Hutchison was at RI Advice Group between May 2007 and November 2012. An ASIC investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012, Hutchison dishonestly:

  • Banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal account when he knew he had to remit or report them to RI Advice. He the deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial product for payment to RI Advice; and
  • Banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account and failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.

ASIC deputy chairman, Peter Kell said: “ASIC will continue to protect consumers by removing people from the financial services industry who act dishonestly and breach the trust of their clients”.

Hutchison has the right to appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

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