A former Aon Hewitt adviser has been banned from providing financial services for two years following an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) surveillance which found he was not adequately trained or competent to provide financial services.
The regulator said that the former adviser, Thanh Huu Tran, was subjected to surveillance with respect to his part in 2016 conduct by Futura Financial Group in which he was a director and which resulted in 331 Aon Hewitt Trust default superannuation members not switching to an AMT MySuper product.
ASIC said Tran had acted in a manner which effectively turned MySuper into ‘opt-in’.
It said the AMT MySuper product generally had lower fees and costs than AMT’s legacy default employer superannuation product, partly because MySuper products are prohibited from paying commissions to financial advisers.
ASIC said its surveillance found:
- Futura sent letters to 424 clients stating that if they did not respond to the letter within 30 days their superannuation accrued default amount and future contributions would not go to a MySuper product.
- Following the issuing of the letter, Futura then sent an email and a text message to those clients for whom they had email and mobile phone contact details.
- Mr Tran then instructed a staff member to log in to the adviser portal of the AMT website to make investment choices on behalf of clients who did not respond to the letter, email or text message. Where Futura received an automated notification to indicate the message failed to deliver to the mobile or email, no changes were made to the relevant client’s account.
- As a result, 331 clients’ default superannuation balances and future contributions were invested in the AMT’s legacy default superannuation product, instead of transitioning to MySuper, even though the clients had not given their instructions for this to happen.
ASIC said Tran’s conduct effectively required the clients to ‘opt-in’ to MySuper, even though the government had designed the MySuper system as an opt-out scheme.