A former National Australia Bank (NAB) adviser has pleaded guilty to two charges that he forced and submitted financial planning documents for his own personal gain.
Shane Thompson of Victoria pleaded guilty after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) brought the charges against him.
The charges allege that between 27 December 2012 and 1 March 2013, Thompson completed 22 false “change of adviser” forms and submitted them to MLC in order to transfer NAB clients to his personal financial planning client list.
The charges also allege Thompson forged client signatures on each form and did this without clients’ knowledge or authorisation so that he could receive additional financial planning remuneration from his employer, NAB.
He was a NAB financial planner during the time the alleged misconduct occurred. The maximum penalty for each offence under the Crimes Act 1958 at the time was 10 years’ imprisonment. As the matter was heard summarily, the maximum sentence available for each offence was two years’ imprisonment.
Thompson was convicted on both charges and fined an aggregate of $1,000 with $293.30 in costs.
In a statement NAB executive general manager of wealth advice, Greg Miller said the bank welcomed ASIC's investigation and the conviction of Thompson.
In 2013, NAB terminated Thompson's employment after discovering he had forged signatures to boost his own remuneration "at the expense of the NAB".
"We expect our advisers to do the right thing at all times – by their customers and us as their employer, and we will always hold them to account," Miller said.
NAB then reported Thompson to ASIC and supported its investigation and cooperated with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter.
The outcome formed a part of ASIC’s Wealth Management Project, which was established in October 2014 and focuses on the conduct of the largest financial advice firms (NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, AMP, and Macquarie).