Australia's watchdog bans former Westpac adviser over misconduct

Pedro Gonçalves
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Australia's watchdog bans former Westpac adviser over misconduct

ASIC has slapped a financial services life ban on a former Westpac adviser in Perth accused of producing fake documents following a surveillance of his advice.

In a statement, ASIC said it became aware that Phillip Emidio Bruni had been dishonest and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, including by retrospectively creating advice documents and reproducing a client's signature.

The corporate regulator reviewed meta data from  Bruni's advice documents and found that in response to statutory notices, he had created replicas of statements of advice documents that he was required by law to create and retain but had not.

Providing false evidence to ASIC under any circumstances is a breach of the law and will not be tolerated"

Additionally, Bruni attempted to cover up his failure to obtain a signed "authority to proceed" from a client, and copied and pasted his client's signature from a "fact-find" document - which outlines a client's circumstances and needs - without the client's consent or approval.

Westpac notified ASIC of the conduct, which occurred when  Bruni was an authorised representative of the bank and The Financiallink Group.

"Providing false evidence to ASIC under any circumstances is a breach of the law and will not be tolerated," Commissioner Danielle Press said.

"ASIC expects advisers to adhere to the law at all times and meet their obligations of providing appropriate advice that is in the best interests of their clients"  Press added.

The banning of  Bruni will be recorded on ASIC's Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register. ASIC has banned 55 advisers and one director so far.

The commission said the banning was part of its Wealth Management Project, focused on Australia's largest financial advice licensees - NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP.

 

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