Former Morgan Stanley adviser banned permanently

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has permanently banned former Morgan Stanley Wealth Management financial adviser, Andrew Peter Panayiotides, from providing financial services for providing inappropriate advice to the clients.

According to ASIC’s investigation, he failed to act in the best interests of his clients by offering them misleading advice in relation to exchange traded options (ETOs) which resulted in incurring significant loses by his clients.

As a result of his conduct, his clients’ superannuation accounts were exposed to short cash covered ETO positions which were contrary to their risk profile declarations.

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The regulator also said that there was a conflict of interests that Panayiotides had known of between the financial benefit he received from a number of ETO transactions and his clients’ best interest.

In particular, ASIC found that he:

  • Improperly made payments into clients’ bank accounts using his own funds;
  • Issued a false invoice;
  • Provided unethical advice to a client in relation to a superannuation fund withdrawal; and
  • Entered into a personal loan arrangement with a client in return for offering reduced brokerage while at another firm.

ASIC said Panayiotides was “not of good fame or character” and repeatedly contravened financial service laws.

ASIC’s commissioner, Cathie Armour, said: “Financial advisers are expected to act in the best interests of clients”.

“ASIC will ensure appropriate enforcement action is taken against advisers who fail in this duty.”

Panayiotides, who was employed by Morgan Stanley Wealth Management between 2013 and 2015, has a right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

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