A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

Inside Money: Adviser X stumped by sloppy admin

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

The identity of the fifth financial adviser to be caught out by the official industry disciplinary body remains under wraps.

However, I can confirm that Player X is not Adviser X (also known as Mr X). And the case in question, Financial Advisers Disciplinary Committee (FADC) 005, has nothing to do with cricket.

In fact, most of the financial advisory industry probably know who Adviser X is, as well as his former employer, Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE) 'Y'. But after reading the case notes, you can see why the FADC decided to pad off the question of X's identity.

For as the case notes make clear, X has been pinged for sloppy admin rather than any underhanded plot to defraud his clients.

"This is a case where there has been no client complaint and no identified loss for any client of the AFA [Authorised Financial Adviser]," the FADC decision says. "Further, there has been no identified material advantage to the AFA."

While it might seem a bit harsh to be punished for a victimless crime, or even a crimeless crime, the case underlines the procedural standards advisers - and just about everybody really - must adhere to these days.

"The critical importance of proper record keeping cannot be minimised, particularly because of the influence it can have in an AFA determining whether he or she has an up-to-date understanding of a client's financial situation, needs, goals and tolerance for risk," the FADC says.

From what I understand, X was simply an old-school, deal-on-a-handshake adviser who probably found the admin tiresome.

The most interesting aspect of the case is the fact it was X's employer, QFE Y (owned by a well-known Australian financial services firm), that dobbed him in to the authorities.

The QFE's decision to turn in one of its own is an understandable risk management move given it is accountable for its advisers but there's probably more to it - some kind of relationship breakdown between X and Y looks likely.

At any rate, Y fired X at some point.

"This appears to have caused the loss of an anticipated opportunity for the AFA to sell the adviser business to the QFE," the FADC says. "It was said to be worth in excess of $200,000."

Looks like Y hit X for six.

- NZ Herald

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A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. He is the editor of industry website Investment News. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries.

Read more by David Chaplin

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