ANZ subsidiary RI Advice Group fined $6 million for ‘inappropriate cookie-cutter advice’

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The Royal Commission heard that Mr Doyle accepted commissions from providers of “structured products” (bundled packages of securities, options and derivatives) such as Macquarie and Instreet.

“These complex products were not appropriate for Mr. Doyle’s clients, many of whom were nearing retirement,” said Sarah Court, vice chair of ASIC, which initiated proceedings against RI Advice and Mr. Doyle in 2019.

“The $6 million fine imposed by the court on RI Advice sends a strong message to financial services licensees to properly monitor the advice of their advisors to ensure consumers are protected.”

Mr. Doyle’s license to provide financial advice expired in March 2018, but the regulator never disallowed him. He was an authorized representative of RI Advice between 2013 and 2016 when it was owned by ANZ and then worked at Financial Link Group, a related party of troubled asset manager Linchpin Capital.

He was one of several financial planners lured into joining the ANZ network with a $150,000 sign-up bonus, the royal commission heard. This was part of the bank’s aggressive effort to expand its presence in the struggling sector and to derive a short-term revenue slump from commissions on financial products that upcoming regulations are likely to abolish.

ANZ and Insignia have been contacted for comment. A spokesman for the bank said earlier The Australian Financial Report that ANZ was technically not a “party to the claim” and no longer “the owner of the entity at the center of this proceeding”.

In February, the federal court ordered ASIC to arbitrate with RI Advice.

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