A former Westpac financial adviser was permanently banned by ASIC for providing inappropriate advice that placed a number of clients' retirements in jeopardy.
ASIC's banning of Subeer Luthra follows a surveillance it did in relation to his conduct when he was an authorised representative of Westpac, according to a statement.
Subeer Luthra was banned by ASIC following surveillance that found he dishonestly altered his clients' priorities to suit his own interests. Westpac notified ASIC of Luthra's misconduct.
Luthra prioritised his own interests over those of his clients by providing inappropriate advice that maximised the amount of fees and commissions payable to Westpac and himself"
An ASIC review of Mr Luthra's advice found that he dishonestly recast his clients' priorities to suit his own interests in that he had advised his clients to switch their superannuation to a product issued by BT (part of the Westpac Group), and to obtain comprehensive personal insurance, without taking their needs and objectives into consideration.
ASIC said Luthra had also recommended BT insurance and superannuation products to all his clients without adequately investigating their existing financial products.
It said the inappropriate advice resulted in Luthra's clients paying excessive insurance premiums that eroded their superannuation contributions at a point in their lives when they did not have enough time to rebuild their assets for retirement.
"Luthra prioritised his own interests over those of his clients by providing inappropriate advice that maximised the amount of fees and commissions payable to Westpac and himself," the regulator said. "ASIC found that Luthra is not of good fame or character to provide financial services because his conduct was dishonest and deliberate, and motivated by personal enrichment."
The watchdog said it had also determined that Luthra was not a fit and proper person to engage in credit activities.
The will be recorded on ASIC's Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register. He has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Luthra's banning is part of ASIC's Wealth Management Major Financial Institutions Portfolio.
The Portfolio focuses on the conduct of Australia's largest financial institutions (NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP) with respect to credit and retail lending, financial advice, fees for no service, superannuation trustees, insurance, unfair contract terms and other licensee obligations, and other conduct arising from the Financial Services Royal Commission.
As part of this work, ASIC has banned 56 advisers and one director from the financial services industry. Three bannings are the subject of appeal.
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