ASIC bans adviser over SMSF property deals

by Adam Smith03 Sep 2015
ASIC has permanently banned a former financial adviser.

The regulator has banned former authorised representative Nicholas Hunter from the financial services industry following an investigation regarding Hunter's conduct in advising SMSF clients. ASIC said it had found Hunter contravened financial services laws and is bankrupt.

Hunter was an authorised representative of various licensees dating back to 2002. ASIC said its investigation revealed Hunter advised clients to directly invest their SMSF in property during 2012.

"In doing so, he failed to make adequate inquiries into the clients' existing financial circumstances, including their existing SMSF portfolio and investment strategy, and did not give advice appropriate to the clients," ASIC said.

Hunter was selling properties on behalf of a Queensland property development company which is now in liquidation, and collected commissions of between $10,000 and $25,000 per sale.

ASIC's investigation found Hunter was involved in issuing falsified Westpac finance letters, that he failed to issue SMSF clients with Financial Services Guides and Statements of Advice, that he operated a financial services company website when not licensed or authorised and provided financial advice to several SMSF clients in 2012 when not licensed or authorised.

"The matter involving Mr Hunter highlights ASIC's concerns about the potential for direct property advice though SMSF to constitute financial advice. Further, the advisor must act in the best interests of the client in giving that advice," ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said.