AAT supports Westpac adviser’s ban

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has upheld the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) decision to ban Perth-based Westpac adviser, Jason Atkins, from providing financial services for three years.

The AAT affirmed ASIC’s findings that Atkins had not acted in the best interests of his clients when giving advice on establishing a self-managed superannuation fund and using limited recourse borrowing arrangements to fund the purchase of real property.

Senior Member of the AAT, Michelle Evans, said the detriment and potential loss caused to the clients was potentially very serious.

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“The Applicant facilitated a high-risk investment strategy for the clients whereby all of the clients were in a worse financial position than if they had done nothing and not followed his advice,” she said.

ASIC deputy chairman, Peter Kell, said advisers who provide poor advise on SMSFs were putting their clients’ financial futures at risk, and would be removed from the industry.

“The job of financial advisers is to help their clients by providing professional advice that leaves their clients in a better position, not to merely execute their clients’ wishes, especially when those wishes are going to leave their clients in a worse financial position,” said Kell.

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