ASIC has banned financial adviser Jihad Soleiman, of Wollert, Victoria, from providing financial services for six years.
Mr Soleiman, an authorised representative of Apogee Financial Planning Limited (Apogee) during the period June 2013 to February 2018, had been approached by clients about SMSFs for the purposes of either investing into property or property development companies.
According to ASIC, Mr Soleiman had a conflict of interest because his clients were looking to invest through his brothers who were in the property development business.
He referred his clients to an SMSF administration business to facilitate the establishment of their SMSFs without providing advice, before then providing advice to roll over their existing super funds into their recently established SMSFs.
The corporate regulator said that Mr Soleiman was told by his licensee that he did not have the required expertise to advise on SMSFs generally, but he still proceeded to provide SMSF advice to his clients.
In doing so, Mr Soleiman failed to prioritise his clients’ interests and failed to act in the best interests of his clients with his advice.
ASIC believes he did not scope the advice to be consistent with his clients’ circumstances and subject matter of advice sought; had failed to make reasonable inquiries to obtain complete and accurate information about his clients’ relevant circumstances; and did not address how an SMSF property investment strategy would meet his clients’ retirement objectives.
Mr Soleiman was also found to be focused on the advice to his clients on rolling over to SMSFs without adequately considering alternative options, such as whether his clients would be better off retaining their existing super funds, and failed to adequately consider and provide information about significant risks and consequences when recommending his clients rollover their existing super funds to SMSFs for the purpose of investing into property.
“It is essential that before consumers commit to a significant decision to establish an SMSF, that they have access to quality advice that is tailored to their personal circumstances,” said ASIC commissioner Danielle Press.
Mr Soleiman, who was most recently an authorised representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd, has filed an application to review ASIC’s decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
In addition to being an authorised representative of Apogee, Mr Soleiman was the sole director of W C R S Nominees Pty Ltd (trading as Wealth Protection Solutions), a corporate authorised representative of Apogee during the same period.
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.