The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced this morning that it has banned NSW-based Graeme Ashley Cowper from providing financial services for four years, having found him inadequately trained and incompetent to provide financial services.
Mr Cowper worked as a financial adviser at NAB, Aon and Tynan Mackenzie between 2007 and 2015, before transferring to AMP-subsidiary, Ipac Securities Limited.
Over this period, ASIC said Mr Cowper recommended clients undertake gearing strategies that the client could not afford and recommended clients switch over to new superannuation funds without giving sufficient detail to allow the client to decide whether or not to heed the advice.
ASIC’s Financial Services and Credit Panel also found that Mr Cowper advised clients to switch to a new superannuation fund without telling them in the statement of advice that the new fund was more expensive and that, unlike their client fund, the suggested fund included insurance that did not cover the client’s existing health condition.
The corporate watchdog said Mr Cowper “had a fundamental lack of understanding of the duties and obligations imposed by the Corporations Act 2001 on providers of financial services; and gave advice to a number of clients over the period 2007 to 2013 that did not appear to be appropriate”.
Mr Cowper has the right to appeal.
Update: NAB welcomes ASIC action
Noting that the bank reported Mr Cowper to ASIC in January 2010, NAB chief customer officer of consumer banking and wealth, Andrew Hagger said NAB is focused on continued improvements.
“We will continue to lift the standards and performance of our people, and look for areas where we can improve,” Mr Hagger said.
“We expect our advisers to do the right thing by their customers, and we will hold individuals who don’t meet our expectations, or the expectations of our customers, to account.
“We have policies and processes in place for very important reasons, and all advisers have a responsibility to comply with regulations, our policies and our Code of Conduct. Those who do not meet these standards will be held to account, just as Mr Cowper has been.”
NAB also noted that compensation payments totalling $13.39 million have been made to affected clients.