Accountant enters ASIC EU over SMSF advice

An accountant involved in the establishment of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) has entered into an enforceable undertaking (EU) with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) after it found she had failed to act in the best interests of her clients and prioritised her own interests.

ASIC announced today that the accountant, Jenan Oslem Thorne of Saber Superannuation Pty Ltd has entered into an enforceable undertaking which prevents her from providing financial services for a period of three years effective from 13 February, this year.

ASIC said it decided to review 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 self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) from Park Trent.

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ASIC reviewed advice provided by 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.

The ASIC announcement said the regulator found that Thorne hadn't 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 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, 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 Thorne recommended the services of a related party to create extra revenue for herself.

As part of the EU, Thorne has agreed to inform all her former personal advice clients about the EU and provide contact details of her former licensee, SMSF Advice Pty Ltd. Former clients of Thorne who have enquiries or complaints regarding her advice or conduct should contact SMSF Advice Pty Ltd.

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