Planner goes bankrupt in light of client claim

5 September 2013

A former WealthSure planner who has been ordered to pay $1.7 million in damages to a client is unlikely to pay the claim after he declared himself bankrupt.

David Bertram was required to pay the claim after a stay of execution concerning him was discharged. However, he is unlikely to pay up after he declared himself bankrupt and an appeal by him was dropped by the trustee of his estate.

As a result, the claim will now shift to the trustee — the Official Trustee — and Wealthsure's professional indemnity insurer QBE.

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In May of this year Bertram was named head of distribution at Beacon Financial Planning, the group formed by the merger of Titanium Group and Financial Link and headed by former Australian Financial Services Group chief executive, Peter Daly.

Bertram also held this distribution role at Titanium before the merger and was due to continue in that capacity.

However, Daly told Money Management that Bertram never took on the role with the merged group.

He was an authorised representative of WealthSure from 2006 to 2012, with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission register of authorised representatives indicating he ceased his involvement with WealthSure in July of last year.

Bertram was also briefly engaged as an authorised representative for 16 days in February with Gold Coast advice business Protect Ensure and is listed on the website of Perth advice business Finview as providing advice services.

Further enquiries by Money Management towards DBA Financial Designs, a group mentioned on Bertram's profile on the Finview website, were directed to a non-financial services company. Finview did not comment in time for Money Management's deadline.

Bertram and WealthSure were engaged in a court case with two former clients of the planning group for $1.7 million in damages related to investment losses via a Brisbane-based property development group and Western Australian investment house.

The case had been decided against WealthSure, but orders to pay the $1.7 million to the clients were under a stay of execution.

In a recent decision handed down by Judge Besanko in the Federal Court in South Australia, the stay of execution against Bertram was discharged despite it being opposed by WealthSure, which argued that it would be prejudicial against the planning group.

In earlier court documents WealthSure argued that the size of the case might result in financial difficulties and possible closure for the group.

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