ASIC has accused this former adviser of forging client signatures on numerous documents, amongst a litany of other allegations.
Ricky David Gillespie, of Southport, Queensland, who was a senior financial planner for Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited (CFPL) between 2006 and 2009, has now been banned from providing any financial services.
Following an investigation into his activities, ASIC found that, between 2008 and 2009, Gillespie:
failed to comply with financial services laws;
forged clients’ signatures on documents such as a direct debit request, transaction without advice documents, confidential fact finder and financial services guide receipts;
created false file notes;
engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in issuing financial product information in the form of a marketing letter which contained representations that were false or misleading;
provided advice to a client that was not appropriate in the circumstances; and
charged excessive fees.
“ASIC considers Mr Gillespie’s conduct to be serious. Mr Gillespie’s wrongdoing was not an isolated incident. Instead Mr Gillespie engaged in a series of conscious and deliberate acts designed to disguise and conceal his non-compliance with statutory requirements and policies put in place by CFPL,” said ASIC commissioner Peter Kell.
“ASIC will continue to take action and remove advisers who breach community trust.”
Noting that this is the latest of a string of enforcement actions against former CFPL financial advisers, ASIC has stated that this latest ban reflects its commitment to ensuring financial advisers meet required standards to maintain consumer confidence in the financial services system.
Six former CFPL financial advisers – Don Nguyen, Simon Langton, Christopher Baker, Anthony Awkar, Jane Duncan and Joe Chan – have already been subjected to permanent or temporary bans.
ASIC has already accepted an enforceable undertaking from CFPL – submitted in October 2011 – requiring the group to review its risk management framework and address deficiencies. Additionally, where clients are found to have been adversely impacted by the conduct of representatives, CFPL will consider the circumstances and appropriately remediate the client.
Most of Gillespie’s impacted clients have already been compensated by CFPL.
Gillespie has appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of ASIC’s decision. An order made by the AAT staying ASIC’s decision was lifted following a hearing by the AAT on 8 November 2012.