ASIC Bans Westpac Adviser, Cancels Insurance Licence

ASIC has banned a former Westpac adviser for five years after finding he failed to meet his obligations to clients, including charging for advice when none was given.

The regulator banned, Sudhir Kumar Sinha from Western Australia, after receiving a breach notification from Westpac where he was an employed representative from 2001 to 2014.

ASIC found Sinha had systematically failed to meet his ongoing advice service obligations over a period of six years, including failing to conduct ongoing reviews for at least nine clients which had paid for ongoing advice services and were entitled to receive these reviews.

ASIC also found that Sinha’s conduct demonstrated he was not adequately trained, or was not competent to provide financial services, and was likely to breach a financial services law in the future.

Following the reporting of the breach notice Westpac identified 177 clients who were charged fees but did not receive service by Sinha and is remediating the clients impacted by his conduct, and at the end of February 2017 had paid $1.47 million in respect of Sinha’s ongoing advice failings.

Sinha has been banned until 2 June 2022 but has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

 

ASIC has also cancelled the Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) of a Sydney based life insurance advisory business after it failed to lodge financial statements and auditor reports.

The AFSL of Group Underwriters & Managers Pty Ltd (GUM), which provided general financial product advice only for general insurance and life insurance products, had been suspended in November 2016 for three months after it failed to lodge the reports for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 financial years.

The suspension was extended in February 2017 and again in March 2017 to allow GUM to address the outstanding lodgements for the reports but after failing to do so ASIC cancelled GUM’s AFSL on 15 May 2017.

GUM has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.