Gold Coast SMSF accountant Jenan Oslem Thorne, also known as Cenan Thorne and Cenan Dikmen, of Saber Superannuation Pty Ltd, has been ordered by the Federal Court of Australia to comply with the terms of a court-enforceable undertaking that she previously entered into with ASIC.
Ms Thorne first entered into the enforceable undertaking with ASIC on 13 February 2019, after an investigation found that she failed to act in her clients’ best interests and that she prioritised her own interests above those of her clients.
ASIC alleged that Ms Thorne had advised some of her clients to establish SMSFs without taking their circumstances into account, and had inappropriately scoped advice by excluding insurance and retirement planning.
The corporate regulator said she did not adequately stress-test SMSF strategies, and had not explored why her clients were interested in investing in direct residential property through an SMSF.
Ms Thorne was also found to have recommended her accounting firm, Saber Accountants Pty Ltd, prepare the annual accounts and tax returns for the SMSF clients, leading ASIC to determine that she recommended the services of a related party to create extra revenue for herself.
She was required to inform 103 former personal advice clients of the enforceable undertaking but ASIC alleged that she took deliberate steps to reduce the likelihood that her clients would receive the written notification, including directing that the letters not be sent to some clients that had made complaints about the company and other letters be sent to client addresses from expired driver’s licenses.
ASIC then turned to the Federal Court late last year to direct her to comply with the enforceable undertaking, with Ms Thorne now agreeing to do so.
The court also ordered Ms Thorne to pay $16,529 for ASIC’s costs of the proceeding.
ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press said her office would not hesitate to take further action against those who failed to comply with their obligations.
“ASIC first took action in this matter because the law requires that financial advisers act in their clients’ best interests,” said Ms Press. “Those providing financial services must not prioritise their own interests or simply implement client instructions.”
“Individuals and organisations entering into court enforceable undertakings with ASIC have binding obligations that must be met to ensure compliance.
“ASIC will not hesitate to take action against those who don’t comply with their obligations.”
Jotham Lian is the 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.