Former Aon Hewitt authorised representative Andrew Hills has been banned by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for four years for allowing misleading and inaccurate letters about MySuper opt-outs to be issued to some Aon Master Trust members.
The banning followed surveillance between 2014 and 2017 by the corporate regulator which contravened section 1041H of the Corporations Act.
ASIC found that:
- The letters contained incorrect information, like the past performance of Aon MySuper and the timing of when members would transition to MySuper;
- The letters omitted material information about the intended benefits of MySuper, such as lower fees and insurance premiums;
- The letters did not disclose that it would be in Hills’ interests if the members decided to opt out of MySuper, because his company would continue to receive commissions;
- Some letters were seriously misleading “negative consent” letters that stated members would be opted out of MySuper within five working days if they did not respond; and
- Some letters could mislead members into believing they had been given financial advice which recommended they do not transfer their superannuation balances to MySuper.
Under the Government’s Stronger Super reforms, a member’s accrued default amounts of superannuation were to be transferred to a MySuper fund by 1 July, 2017, unless a member opted out of the transfer.
After receiving the letters, hundreds of members did not fully transition to MySuper and instead their accrued default amounts remained in Aon Master Trust’s “choice” superannuation product which was more expensive.
Hills had the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision and the banning had been recorded on the Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register.
Hills was an authorised representative of Aon Hewitt Financial Advice Limited between 2 February, 2009, and 23 December, 2018.