ASIC bans Gold Coast adviser, stay application refused

ASIC has banned Gold Coast-based financial adviser Jeneve Matai from providing financial services for four years.

The banning took effect on 13 December 2022. Mr Matai applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) seeking a review and stay of ASIC’s decision. The AAT refused the stay application on 22 February 2023 but no hearing date has been set for the substantive review of ASIC’s decision.

Mr Matai was an authorised representative and financial adviser of National Advice Solutions Pty Ltd (National Advice Solutions) from 4 July 2019 to 2 December 2022. He was also the head of advice for the superannuation team, and assistant training manager at a corporate authorised representative of National Advice Solutions.

In reviewing a sample of advice provided by Mr Matai, ASIC found that Mr Matai did not act in the best interests of clients, the advice was not appropriate, and he prioritised his interests (or that of his AFS licensee) over the interests of the client.

Mr Matai provided advice in accordance with what his licensee called a ‘layered advice’ strategy whereby the advice was separated into pre-determined topics, irrespective of the client’s personal circumstances, goals or advice needs. The layered advice strategy was a process by which clients were provided with superannuation and insurance advice separately, even though the insurance was held within the superannuation fund.

ASIC found that by using the layered advice strategy, the advice was templated, inappropriately scoped, and Mr Matai failed to identify or consider the relevant circumstances of the clients when preparing the advice. This included when recommending the client participate in an ongoing advice arrangement.

ASIC also found that although Mr Matai was not responsible for the design and implementation of the layered advice strategy, as a financial adviser he is required to comply with financial services laws, and cannot assign his obligations to others.

Mr Matai also audited the files of other financial advisers on an as needed basis, and ASIC found that he failed to identify issues that a competent person auditing the files would have identified.

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