Australia's corporate watchdog has banned a Melbourne-based financial adviser from providing financial services for six years.
Jihad Soleiman, of Wollert, Victoria was an authorised representative of Apogee Financial Planning Limited (Apogee) during the period June 2013 to February 2018.
His clients approached him for advice about establishing self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) for the purposes of either investing into property or property development companies.
However, Soleiman had a conflict of interest because his clients were looking to invest through his brothers who were in the property development business.
Soleiman referred his clients to an SMSF administration business to facilitate the establishment of their SMSFs without providing advice. He then provided advice to rollover their existing super funds into their recently established SMSFs.
In respect of advice provided to four clients, ASIC found Soleiman failed to prioritise his clients' interests and failed to act in the best interests of his clients because he did not scope the advice to be consistent with his clients' circumstances and subject matter of advice sought.
He also failed to make reasonable inquiries to obtain complete and accurate information about his clients' relevant circumstances, did not address how an SMSF property investment strategy would meet his clients' retirement objectives and focused the advice to his clients on rolling over to SMSFs without adequately considering alternative options, such as whether his clients would be better off retaining their existing super funds
The regulator highlights that he also failed to adequately consider and provide information about significant risks and consequences when recommending his clients rollover their existing super funds to SMSFs for the purpose of investing into property and was told by his licensee that he did not have the required expertise to advise on SMSFs generally, but still proceeded to provide SMSF advice to his clients.
"It is essential that before consumers commit to a significant decision to establish an SMSF, that they have access to quality advice that is tailored to their personal circumstances," ASIC commissioner Danielle Press.
Soleiman's banning is recorded on ASIC's register of financial advisers. He has filed an application to review ASIC's decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.