Corporate regulator, ASIC, has slammed the entire Australian Financial Planning industry for shady, shoddy or shitty practices. Its explosive denunciation comes in the wake of the latest scandal; this one from the Macquarie Group.

On Friday the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) ordered Macquarie to proffer claims for compensation to more than 160,000 past and present clients. This order was given because of evidence linking planners within the group to misconduct and skewed financial advice dating back to 2004 – the very moment it obtained a financial services licence.

One piece of evidence (nicknamed the ‘Penske File’ – lifted from the TV series Seinfeld) was a written copy of all the answers to the industry standard professional development exams.

Macquarie advisers are also accused of intentionally mislabeling investors’ risk-profiles so their money could be invested in portfolios with longer odds; and suspiciously poor record-keeping.

This latest Financial Planning rort comes on the back of another high-profile case, this one against the CBA. Due to rogue advisers and sharp practices more than 1,100 customers lost their savings.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell. Photo:

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell. Photo:

“This is an industry that has to lift its game,” said ASIC deputy Chairman Peter Kell, “this is an industry that has to put customers back at the centre of their business models.”

Mr Kell went on to say that the entire industry needs to work hard to regain the Australian public’s trust. ASIC, he said, was contributing to the current formation of industry guidelines being drawn up in the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA). Among its recommendations are: Management changes overseeing the industry and compliance reforms requiring $49 million; plus mandatory adviser training of 11,500 hours (the equivalent of a tertiary degree).

Macquarie refused to comment. Like the CBA their stance has been obstructive and resistant. They initially required customers to inquire as to whether or not they may be eligible for remuneration. Maurice Blackburn lawyers have raised questions over client access to their own bank information.

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