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FMA warns on ‘copy-paste’ adviser

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New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority has issued a public warning over a financial adviser who copied and pasted client signatures on insurance policy documents.

Palmerston North adviser Brian John Ferguson was found to have acted in this way on two occasions, by instructing a staff member to create a copy of the signature and physically tape it to the signature box, and by doing it himself. In one instance he had the client’s consent and in the other he claimed to have verbal consent.

The misconduct occurred between October 2016 and April this year. Mr Ferguson was employed or contracted by Preferred New Zealand, which referred the matter to the regulator.

While his conduct was not intended to mislead customers, it was likely to mislead the insurer, the regulator says.

Director of Regulation Liam Mason says the conduct falls significantly below the care, diligence and skill a reasonable financial adviser would exercise.