Dover and McMaster handed penalty

The Federal Court has ordered Dover Financial Advisers pay a $1.2 million penalty for engaging in false or misleading conduct and that the firm’s sole director, Terry McMaster, pay $240,000 for being “knowingly concerned” in Dover’s conduct.

The penalties followed the Federal Court’s judgement on 22 November, 2019, which found that Dover engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct when it provided a client protection policy to 19,402 clients between 25 September, 2015, and 30 March, 2018, and that McMaster was knowingly concerned in Dover’s contraventions.

In that judgment, Justice Michael O’Bryan found that the title of the client protection policy “was highly misleading and an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak. The document did not protect clients. To the contrary, it purported to strip clients of rights and consumer protections they enjoyed under the law”.

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In handing down his penalty decision, Justice O’Bryan said: “Many clauses of [Dover’s] client protection policy sought, perversely, to make the client responsible for failings and inadequacies in the advice provided to them”.

“The contravention arose out of the conduct of the most senior management within Dover, being Mr McMaster.”

While not satisfied that McMaster was consciously aware the client protection policy contained a false or misleading statement, Justice O’Bryan observed that he had been aware of all the relevant facts making it so and that “McMaster’s behaviour following the institution of these proceedings indicates that he has only a limited appreciation of the seriousness of the contravening conduct and little if any contrition for the wrongdoing”.

Danielle Press, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) commissioner, said the purpose of Dover’s client protection policy was to exclude or limit Dover’s liability to clients to its own financial benefit.

“The significant penalties handed down today demonstrate the seriousness of this misconduct and will act as a deterrent to others who believe they can get away with similar behaviour,” Press said.

In arriving at the penalty, the Court considered the 19,402 contraventions of the law, which equalled one contravention for each time the protection policy was provided to a client.

Dover and McMaster had also been ordered to pay ASIC's costs.

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That is too harsh...When you consider how ASIC has destroyed the lives of so many Dover Advisers. What's the difference between Hesta and Hostplus advertising their super fund only charges $1.50 per week... and Terry saying he has an insurance policy in place to protect clients when it protects the licensee. Is it the size of the font? Or even super funds using selective periods to advertise their return. i,e saying a fund made 30% followed in small letters saying from the 20th of March 2020 until the 20th of March 2021 and leaving it there for the next five years.... Surely the conduct of many Industry super funds is the same and no worse and a $1.2 million penalty when not a single client has actually been impacted is crazy.

Compare the Pair:
Silly Dover CPP didn’t cost a client a single cent in losses or fees.
Dover shut down.
Big ASIC fines.
Big Banks steal billions from clients accounts, Fees for No Service.
Knowingly doing so for over 10 years.
ASIC knowingly let it continue for over 10 years.
Big Banks keep their AFSLs.
Sure pay back the $$ stolen but I have seen any Big Bank execs fined ???
How’s that fair ASIC.
More corruption from ASIC.
What else would we expect.

Some of the recent legislatory changes has been dceptive also...

"Protect Your Super" should have been more appropriately named "Your Insurance is Disappearing" legislation, or.... "Your kids Don't need Protection" legislation... or even "Your Insurance Costs will soon Skyrocket" legislation. All of these would have been less misleading.

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