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17-178MR ASIC bans former Westpac adviser for five years
ASIC has banned Mr Sudhir Kumar Sinha, a financial planner from Western Australia, from providing financial services until 2 June 2022.
Mr Sinha was an employed representative of Westpac Banking Corporation from 2001 to 10 November 2014.
ASIC's investigation found that Mr Sinha systematically failed to meet his ongoing advice service obligations over a period of six years while he was employed by Westpac. This included a failure to conduct ongoing reviews for at least nine clients. The clients had paid for ongoing advice services and were entitled to receive these reviews.
ASIC found that Mr Sinha's conduct demonstrated that he was not adequately trained, or was not competent to provide financial services during his employment with Westpac. Further, ASIC found that Mr Sinha was likely to breach a financial services law in the future.
Westpac is remediating the clients impacted by Mr Sinha's conduct. As of 28 February 2017, Westpac has remediated $1,473,914 in respect of Mr Sinha's ongoing advice failings.
ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said, "ASIC is committed to improving conduct in the wealth management industry and we will act to remove advisers who do not live up to the high standards expected of financial advisers."
Mr Sinha has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
ASIC's investigation into Mr Sinha's conduct followed a breach notification by Westpac. Westpac later identified to ASIC that 177 clients were charged fees who did not receive service by Sinha.
The banning of Mr Sinha is a result of ASIC's Wealth Management Project. The Wealth Management Project was established in October 2014 with the objective of lifting standards by major financial advice providers. The Wealth Management Project focuses on the conduct of the largest financial advice firms (NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP).
ASIC's work in the Wealth Management Project covers a number of areas including:
- working with the largest financial advice firms to address the identification and remediation of non-compliant advice;
- seeking regulatory outcomes, where appropriate, against licensees and advisers.
As part of its Wealth Management Project, ASIC has banned 30 advisers from the financial services industry, in addition to Mr Sinha.