A financial adviser with clients in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty has pleaded guilty in the Tauranga District Court to a $1.4 million fraud.

Jonathan Graham West was a director of the Investment Centre and Matrix Futures, which he ran between 1994 and 2013.

He was charged with five offences of theft by a person in a special relationship.

West offered financial planning and implementation of investment strategy among other services.

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The Serious Fraud Office said yesterday that between 2008 and 2013 he began using clients' money for his own purposes or using clients' funds on their behalf but outside the terms agreed.

SFO director Julie Read said: "Mr West's abuse of trust has caused significant harm to his clients. While we welcome Mr West's early plea of guilty, his conduct [nonetheless] has the potential to damage New Zealand's reputation as a safe place to invest and do business."

West is due to be sentenced on May 12.