June 7, 2019
ASIC has permanently banned Perth adviser, Phillip Emidio Bruni, following surveillance that included review of metadata taken from Bruni’s advice documents.
This banning relates to Bruni’s activities when he was an authorised representative of Westpac and The Financiallink Group.
In the course of ASIC’s surveillance, it said it became aware Bruni had been dishonest and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct including by retrospectively creating advice documents and reproducing a client’s signature.
The regulator’s review of metadata from Bruni’s advice documents found that:
- In response to statutory notices, he had created replicas of Statements of Advice documents he was required by law to create and retain but had not
- He attempted to cover up his failure to obtain a signed ‘authority to proceed’ from a client and that he copied and pasted his client’s signature from a fact-find document without the client’s consent or approval
ASIC said Bruni told neither his licensee nor ASIC that the documents produced to ASIC were not copies of original documents and that he only admitted to creating the replica documents and the ‘authority to proceed’ when questioned by ASIC.
…he also failed to act in the best interests of his clients
ASIC’s review also found that Bruni had failed to give appropriate advice or provide advice documents to his clients and that he also failed to act in the best interests of his clients or to prioritise their interests.
The regulator said that when providing advice, Bruni did not objectively assess the information provided by his clients or tailor his recommendations to their circumstances.
It further found the adviser:
- Could not demonstrate that he had investigated alternative products or strategies that could help his clients achieve their goals
- Failed to provide information to his clients about the costs, benefits and consequences of his recommendations, which would have helped them make better informed decisions.
ASIC Commissioner, Danielle Press, noted, “Providing false evidence to ASIC under any circumstances is a breach of the law and will not be tolerated.”