The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) focus on major financial institutions has resulted in another permanent banning – that of a former Westpac authorised representative, Subeer Luthra who was actually reported to the regulator by the banking group.
ASIC said it had permanently banned Luthra from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities because of his dishonest conduct and that the banning had followed an ASIC surveillance in relation to his conduct when he was an authorised representative of Westpac.
It said ASIC was notified of Luthra’s misconduct by Westpac, and an ASIC review of Mr Luthra’s advice found that he dishonestly recast his clients’ priorities to suit his own interests in that he had advised his clients to switch their superannuation to a product issued by BT (part of the Westpac Group), and to obtain comprehensive personal insurance, without taking their needs and objectives into consideration.
ASIC said Luthra had also recommended BT insurance and superannuation products to all his clients without adequately investigating their existing financial products.
It said the inappropriate advice resulted in Luthra’s clients paying excessive insurance premiums that eroded their superannuation contributions at a point in their lives when they did not have enough time to rebuild their assets for retirement.
“Mr Luthra prioritised his own interests over those of his clients by providing inappropriate advice that maximised the amount of fees and commissions payable to Westpac and himself,” ASIC said. “ASIC found that Mr Luthra is not of good fame or character to provide financial services because his conduct was dishonest and deliberate, and motivated by personal enrichment.”
The regulator said it had also determined that Luthra was not a fit and proper person to engage in credit activities.