ASIC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Jenan Oslem Thorne of Saber Superannuation Pty Ltd after it found she had failed to act in the best interests of her clients and had prioritised her own interests above their interests.
The enforceable undertaking prevents Mrs Thorne (also known as Cenan Thorne or Cenan Dikmen) from providing financial services for a period of three years effective from 13 February 2019.
The corporate regulator decided to review Mrs Thorne’s advice when it discovered, during its investigation into Park Trent Properties Group Pty Ltd, that she was receiving referrals in relation to establishing SMSFs from Park Trent.
ASIC reviewed advice provided by Mrs Thorne when she was a representative of SMSF Advice Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of AMP Limited, and concluded that she had advised some of her clients to establish SMSFs without taking their circumstances into account.
It found that Mrs Thorne had not properly considered her clients’ existing superannuation arrangements or explored why they were interested in investing in direct residential property through an SMSF. When recommending SMSFs to some of her clients, she had inappropriately scoped advice by excluding insurance and retirement planning.
ASIC also found that Mrs Thorne did not adequately stress-test SMSF strategies and had recommended SMSFs to some of her clients despite inadequate evidence to suggest that the strategies would provide increased retirement benefits.
Furthermore, Mrs Thorne had recommended that her accountancy practice, Saber Accountants Pty Ltd, prepare the annual accounts and tax returns for the SMSF clients. This led ASIC to determine that Mrs Thorne recommended the services of a related party to create extra revenue for herself.
As part of the enforceable undertaking, Mrs Thorne has agreed to inform all her former personal advice clients about it and provide contact details of her former licensee, SMSF Advice Pty Ltd.
Former clients of Mrs Thorne who have enquiries or complaints regarding her advice or conduct should contact SMSF Advice Pty Ltd.
ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said advisers should pay particular attention to how they scope their advice to clients, “critically probe” why a client wants to set up an SMSF and what they hope to achieve.
“Financial advisers have a legal obligation to provide advice that is in the best interests of their clients, not prioritise their own interests or simply implement client instructions. ASIC will continue to take action when advisers or AFS licensees don’t comply with the law,” said Ms Press.
“Consumers need to know that managing your own super is a major commitment that can be expensive and involve significant time and effort. SMSFs are not for everyone.”
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.