The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned financial adviser Adrian Khaw from providing financial services for four years, for failure to comply with financial services laws including requirements to prioritise clients’ best interests, to comply with best interests duty and provide appropriate advice.
This followed ASIC surveillance of the former Sydney-based adviser when he was an authorised representative of the National Australia Bank-owned Apogee Financial Planning Limited and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited.
ASIC had found Khaw had not been adequately trained or competent to provide financial services and had engaged in misleading conduct by backdating file notes.
A review of his advice files revealed his clients wanted to purchase an investment property and were referred to him by an associated mortgage broking business.
Despite differing needs of clients, Khaw advised almost all of them to establish self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) or to use an existing SMSF and use Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements (LRBAs) to fund a property purchase.
ASIC found Khaw failed in his duty as a financial adviser to put in place a strategy in their best interests, and failed to provide a professional, independent assessment of whether using an SMSF to borrow to invest in property was an appropriate strategy for his clients.
ASIC said Khaw put his own interests ahead of his clients and his advice exposed them to financial harm.
Khaw still had the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.