ASIC Bans Adviser Over Client Best Interests Issues

Queensland-based adviser, Gregory Forster, has been banned by ASIC from providing financial services for a period of five years.

According to ASIC, surveillance it undertook demonstrated Forster provided inappropriate advice to clients and failed to act in their best interests.

The regulator’s surveillance spanned periods during which Forster provided advice to clients while he was an authorised representative of Breakaway Finance Group and Millenium 3.

It says its surveillance found Forster had failed to take into account his clients’ actual circumstances when providing advice: “…instead he obtained limited information and made a series of assumptions about their personal circumstances.

“Furthermore, he recommended new superannuation and insurance products to his clients without considering their existing products and services,” added ASIC in its statement.

The regulator said that in many cases, Forster recommended insurance where the premiums were unaffordable: “Even though the premiums were paid out of his clients’ superannuation, sometimes they were significantly more than his clients’ normal superannuation contributions, potentially leading to erosion of the clients’ superannuation balance.”

ASIC found that Mr Forster had made those recommendations even though the clients had originally sought his advice because they were unhappy with their superannuation balance.

In some other cases, ASIC also found that Forster had not complied with the requirements for a Statement of Advice instead of disclosing the dollar value of fees, he had described fees in percentage terms.

ASIC notes Forster was an authorised representative of:

  • Breakaway Finance Group from 1 July 2012 to 31 October 2014
  • Millenium 3 from 31 October 2014 to 21 December 2018