News In Brief

  • AIA Vitality Program Boosts Online Presence
  • ASIC Bans Adviser for Double Charging
  • CBA Set to Wrap-Up Review Program
  • Sequoia Purchases Interprac Advice Business

AIA Vitality Program Boosts Online Presence

AIA Australia CEO, Damien Mu

AIA Australia CEO, Damien Mu

AIA Australia has extended its Vitality wellness program with the addition of an online community featuring articles, videos and infographics presented by three AIA Vitality Ambassadors.

The OneLife website will feature contributions from Winter Olympian Alisa Camplin and AFL footballers Shane Crawford and Chris Judd designed to help users put their health and wellness knowledge into practice, change controllable behaviors and make more healthy choices.

AIA Australia & New Zealand Chief Executive, Damian Mu said only 40% of adult Australians knew enough about their health to meet the demands of modern life and the website was designed to help people make changes, particularly in the areas of exercise, nutrition and mental well-being.

“As a leading life insurer, we believe that we should be there supporting Australians through all life’s twists and turns, not only protecting in times of need, but proactively helping create healthier, longer, happier lives every day,” Mu said.


ASIC Bans Adviser for Double Charging

ASIC has permanently banned a former RI Advice Group adviser for directly pocketing client fees and withdrawing further fees from client investments to forward to his licensee.

The regulator banned Robert Hutchison, of Lower Chittering in Western Australia, after an ASIC investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012 Hutchison misled or deceived clients by failing to tell them they had been double charged for advice fees and failing to comply with the RI Advice’s processes for remitting and reporting fees.

Specifically, ASIC stated that Hutchison dishonestly banked cheques received from clients for advice fees instead of remitting them to RI Advice, deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial products to pay RI Advice and failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.

Hutchison was an authorised representative of RI Advice between 14 May 2007 and 30 November 2012 and is a director of WAWM Investment Holdings Pty Limited. He has the right to appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.


CBA Set to Wrap-Up Review Program

The Open Advice Review program into advice offered by Commonwealth Bank owned licensees is nearing completion with around 90% of cases finalised and $29 million offered in compensation, according to the bank.

CBA stated that Promontory Financial Group, which had been conducted the program, had released its seventh and final report which indicates that 350,000 households were contacted during the review and that 22,797 customers expressed an interest in the program with 8,654 customers going on to request a review of their advice.

Of this latter number, 7718 had their cases finalised and closed with a further 936 cases expected to be finalised before the end of this year with a total of $22.98 million in compensation paid out of a total of $29.1 million offered.


Sequoia purchases Interprac advice business

Listed financial services and advisory business Sequoia Financial Group will purchase non-aligned Melbourne based advice group Interprac for $12.83 million.

The deal, which is scheduled to be completed by early September at the latest, will result in Interprac retaining its own brand and continuing to operate from its current location despite being fully owned by Sequoia.

Interprac, which currently has around 120 authorised representatives, was formed in 2001 to assist accountants moving into financial advice and offers a range of advice services as does Sequoia, which also offers direct equities and investment services.