ASIC has permanently banned former financial advisor Robert Shane Michael of Bentleigh, Victoria, from providing financial services for engaging in misconduct which included dishonestly borrowing money from his clients’ SMSF accounts and using them for his own personal expenditure.
From August 2009 to July 2017, Mr Michael was an authorised representative of Marigold Falconer International Pty Ltd and Allied Financial Solutions Pty Ltd through his business RM Wealth Management Pty Ltd.
ASIC’s investigation found that between April 2012 and September 2018, Mr Michael had engaged in dishonest and misleading and deceptive conduct by procuring loans from four of his clients’ SMSF accounts totalling $204,000. The loans were used for his own personal expenditure which included staving off bankruptcy, paying private school fees, gambling and general expenses.
ASIC also found that Mr Michael:
• failed to disclose commissions on financial investments that he recommended and implemented on behalf of clients;
• recommended financial investments without disclosing that a conflict of interest existed;
• failed to prioritise his clients’ interests ahead of his own;
• failed to act in the best interest of his clients in relation to loans procured from clients and recommending high risk investments which were contrary to clients’ risk appetites;
• failed to provide clients with statements of advice, product disclosure statements and fee disclosure statements; and
• engaged in unlicensed financial advice beyond the cessation of his authorisation as a financial adviser.
On 26 July 2019, ASIC found that Mr Michael had breached financial services laws and was not of good fame and character.
Mr Michael has a right to lodge an application for review with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Mr Michael’s banning will be recorded on ASIC’s publicly available Financial Advisers Register, which consumers can access to check the qualifications and credentials of financial advisers.
ASIC expects financial advisers to comply with the law and adhere to ethical standards when providing financial product advice to consumers. Financial advisers have an obligation to provide clients with a statement of advice (where one is required) before implementing the advice on their behalf. They are required to keep proper records.
Published by Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Reproduced with permission.