ANZ has acknowledged that it has ultimately paid a high price for seeking to recruit financial planners from a financial planning group, AFS, which had been the subject of an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
ANZ’s general manager, Aligned Dealer Groups, Darren Whereat told the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry that the process around onboard the AFS planners should have been better handled, particularly with respect to John Doyle.
The Royal Commission heard that Doyle had failed an initial competency test and then had not been audited for two years.
Whereat told the Royal Commission that he took responsibility for what had occurred with respect to Doyle and that there had been failings on the part of the RI Advice Group.
“The entire experience, from the on-boarding process, up until we satisfied ourselves at the third audit for mine took too long,” Whereat said in acknowledging the failings. “I obviously would like to improve and learn from this case study, such that the processes that you talked about in terms of vetting are addressed.’
“For mine, we just took too long to – to act, and then when we did act, whilst we had the best intentions of our clients to ensure that we had continuity of advice between John and the new owner, who we are actively working with, there are instances where, in hindsight, and with the benefit of that, that we should have made some different decisions,” he said.
Whereat agreed that RI Advice should have taken stronger action including suspending Doyle and then stopping him from providing financial advice.