ASIC bans adviser for ‘templated’ financial advice

Taking a templated approach to financial advice has seen a financial adviser banned from providing financial services by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for five years. 

ASIC found Frazer Jon Muscat, who worked at Bristol Street Financial Services Pty Ltd in Beenleigh, QLD between August 2010 and December 2018, failed to take into account his clients’ individual circumstances as he used a template for all clients.

This ‘insurance needs calculation template’ recommended his clients apply for levels of insurance which was higher than their needs. ASIC said many cases were ‘at complete odds’ with clients’ objective and needs.

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He also switched superannuation accounts of some clients from one provider to another without investigating their existing arrangements or demonstrating why the switch would be in their best interest.

Lastly, ASIC said he failed to provide advice on other areas requested by his clients such as debt reduction, instead focusing solely on insurance and superannuation.

ASIC commissioner, Danielle Press, said: “When providing personal advice, ASIC expects financial advisers to take reasonable steps to understand their clients’ individual circumstances, needs and objectives before making any recommendations.

“Advisers have a legal obligation to act in the best interests of their clients at all times and, because client circumstances often vary considerably, using a templated approach will not produce the most appropriate advice recommendations in all instances.”

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At least the bloke had a template! I wonder how many advisers in the last have picked a figure they reckon they can sell and gone with it?! I can’t vouch for pointless super rollovers, but who is ASIC to say what’s overinsured? You can’t have enough at claim time.

Yes, a calculation is important - and are they saying the calculation was inflated to sell higher insurance? But surely the clients agreed to the inputs of the calculation? And, then there are the subjective issues at play.

As I read elsewhere a logical question is whether ASIC will now be banning industry fund planners for exactly the same conflicted, narrow uninvestigated 'advice'? If not, they are a biased joke.

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