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Regulators

ASIC cracks down on use of 'independent'

The corporate regulator has taken action against four firms for their misleading use of the restricted terms 'independent' and 'independently owned'. ASIC has forced Financial Spectrum, James Gerrard (authorised representative of Australian Financial Advisory Group), PWK Private Wealth Advisors (AR of Paragem) and Debbie Hudson Financial Services (trading as Wealth Fusion) to amend "false claims of independence".

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ASIC drags Westpac to court

ASIC has initiated civil penalty proceedings against Westpac in relation to a Perth financial planner whose poor advice has already seen the bank foot a $12 million bill to remediate clients. Sudhir Sinha provided financial advice in the Perth area as an employee of Westpac between 2001 and 2014 before the bank dismissed him. Westpac identified compliance concerns in Sinha's advice and in June 2017, ASIC banned Sinha from providing financial services for a period of five years as a result of his failure to meet his ongoing advice service obligations.

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ASIC vows to use 'every inch' of its powers to ramp up bank scrutiny

The corporate watchdog will ramp up its surveillance of the wealth management arms of Australia’s major banks and AMP and has slammed the industry for failing to act in customers' interests and manage conflicts of interest. The dressing down came as Ian Silk, the chief executive of retirement savings giant Australian Super, said it was likely banks would ultimately scrap conflicted  forms of remuneration, and there would probably be further restrictions on how people in the sector were paid.

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