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ASIC bans adviser over best-interests failure

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned former Commonwealth Bank adviser Julie Hamilton from giving financial advice for three years, for “failing to act in her clients’ best interests”.

The regulator examined services provided while she was an authorised representative of Commonwealth licensee Financial Wisdom (from February 2011 to November 2014) and of Dover (from November 2014).

It found she failed to make enquiries about clients’ financial circumstances when recommending switching superannuation and insurance. Ms Hamilton also failed to consider clients’ circumstances when providing advice or to give priority to their interests.

ASIC says Ms Hamilton neglected to disclose fees and charges associated with the implementation of advice.

She can appeal the decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The ban comes under ASIC’s wealth management project, established in October 2014 to lift the standards of major financial advice providers such as NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP.

It has banned 38 advisers under the program. Six adviser bans are the subject of appeals.