Adviser who appeared before Banking Royal Commission banned for three years

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A financial adviser who appeared before the Banking Royal Commission has been banned from providing financial services for three years by ASIC.

ASIC announced that it has banned Sam Maxwell Henderson from providing financial services for three years.

At times described as a ‘celebrity financial adviser’, due to his TV and other media appearances, advice given by Henderson was a subject of inquiry by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

The final report of the Royal Commission said: “Acting in his capacity as a representative of Henderson Maxwell Pty Ltd, Mr Henderson provided financial advice to Ms Donna McKenna. It was poor advice. If implemented, the advice would have caused Ms McKenna to forfeit her entitlement to approximately $500,000.”

The Royal Commissioner noted that the client made a compliant, but that ASIC “took no action” at that time.

ASIC has now banned Henderson from providing financial services for three years, saying it found Henderson had “failed to act in the best interests of his clients, provide appropriate advice and to prioritise his clients’ interests when providing personal financial advice”.

“This led to clients either losing money or being at risk of losing money.”

“In one example, Mr Henderson failed to adequately investigate and assess his clients’ existing deferred benefit superannuation products. This resulted in a financial loss of several thousand dollars to one client when they rolled over their deferred benefit. Another client, who did not roll over their deferred benefit, would have incurred a $500,000 loss had they implemented Mr Henderson’s advice.”

ASIC says it also found that Henderson had not properly documented or investigated the existing products held by his clients, and “failed to provide advice that was relevant to their specific goals and recommended the use of in-house Henderson Maxwell products without providing product comparisons or justifying why the in-house products were better than his clients’ existing products”.

ASIC says it’s investigation into the conduct of Henderson is “continuing”.

The effect of the three year ban is somewhat limited, as ASIC notes that Henderson announced his retirement from the financial planning industry in June 2018 and the Financial Advisers Register lists him as ‘ceased’.

Henderson has a right to appeal ASIC’s decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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