The former director of an insurance company has been charged with a multitude of counts of dishonest conduct and faces many years in prison.
Barry Hassell of South Australia appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court last week after an ASIC investigation led to him being charged with almost 80 counts of dishonest conduct and 25 counts of failing to provide relevant documents to his clients.
The charges relate to Hassell’s conduct between March 2002 and December 2011 during his time as a director of B.D. & W.J. Hassell, and as a former authorised representative of several Australian financial services licensees.
This included 101 Wealth Solutions, which provide life insurance services.
He carried on the business of Hassell-Free Insurance Services, either in his own capacity or as a director of BD & WJ Hassell.
In May 2012 ASIC accepted an enforceable undertaking offered by Hassell to never again provide financial services, and he undertook to notify current clients that he can no longer provide financial services and that they should refer any queries about the services provided by him to his former licensee 101 Wealth Solutions.
He acknowledged a wide number of offences, including:
- Providing advice in circumstances where the advice was not appropriate to the client;
- Not giving clients Statements of Advice (SOAs) and not retaining SOAs or records of advice as required;
- Not giving clients information about his remuneration (including commission) or other benefits, interests, associations or relationships that might reasonably be expected to have been capable of influencing him in providing advice;
- Not giving clients information about charges, loss of pecuniary or other benefits, or any other significant consequences of taking the recommended action, where his advice included recommendations that clients dispose of, or reduce their interest in, particular products and instead acquire, or increase their interest in, other products; and
- At times fabricating SOAs and other documents relating to the financial services he provided to clients, falsifying the signatures of clients where appearing on those documents and making false or misleading statements in the documents.
Hassell did not enter a plea at his court appearance, but the matter will return to the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 13 May.