Failure to comply with a Court Enforceable Undertaking has seen a Gold Coast accountant and former authorised representative forced to pay the court costs of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to the tune of $16,529.78.
The accountant, Jenan Oslem Thorne, has also been forced to write to all of her clients declaring that she is prevented from providing financial services for a period of three years and noting that they are receiving the letter because they are people to whom she provided personal advice an authorised representative of SMSF Advice Pty Limited.
ASIC announced on 12 March that Thorne was compelled by the Federal Court orders to comply with the terms of the court enforceable undertaking first entered into in February 2019 following an investigation which found she failed to act in her clients’ best interests and that she prioritised her own interests above those of her clients.
Commenting on the Federal Court’s decision, ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press said, “ASIC first took action in this matter because the law requires that financial advisers act in their clients’ best interests. Those providing financial services must not prioritise their own interests or simply implement client instructions.
“Individuals and organisations entering into court enforceable undertakings with ASIC have binding obligations that must be met to ensure compliance. ASIC will not hesitate to take action against those who don’t comply with their obligations.”
It had earlier been found that Thorne had recommended clients establish an SMSF despite inadequate evidence to suggest the strategies would provide increased retirement benefits and had then suggested they use her accountancy firm to prepare the annual accounts and tax returns of those SMSFs.