ASIC bans former Spectrum Wealth adviser for five years

ASIC has banned Hunter Valley-based financial adviser Sean Philip Lewis from providing financial services for five years.

This follows an ASIC surveillance of Mr Lewis’ advice while he was an authorised representative of Spectrum Wealth Advisers.

ASIC found that Mr Lewis failed to comply with financial services laws, including by failing to provide advice that was in the best interests of his clients and failing to provide advice that was appropriate for his clients’ objectives.

Mr Lewis advised most of his clients to use a Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangement (LRBA) to fund the purchase of real property through a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF). Mr Lewis also gave insurance advice to all clients.

When providing this advice, Mr Lewis did not professionally and independently assess whether using an SMSF and borrowed funds to invest in property was an appropriate strategy for each of his clients. He also did not adequately investigate or offer any alternative investment strategies that may have provided greater diversification of risks.

ASIC also found that when providing insurance advice, Mr Lewis prioritised his own interests over that of his clients. He provided insurance advice that would generate large commissions for himself, regardless of whether the recommended products were appropriate for his clients.

The banning of Mr Lewis is part of ASIC’s ongoing efforts to improve standards across the financial services industry. It will be recorded on ASIC’s publicly available Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register.

Mr Lewis has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

Background

Mr Lewis has been an authorised representative of the following AFS licensees:

  • Wealth Today Pty Ltd (October 2010 to January 2012);
  • GWM Adviser Services Limited, which is owned by National Australia Bank (January 2012 to November 2012);
  • AMP Financial Planning Pty Limited (December 2012 to January 2013);
  • Chubb Insurance Australia Ltd (January 2013 to June 2013);
  • Meritum Financial Group Pty Ltd, which is owned by National Australia Bank (September 2013 to October 2013);
  • Spectrum Wealth Advisers Pty Ltd (December 2013 to June 2018); and
  • Consolidated Mercantile Group Ltd (July 2019 to January 2020).

ASIC’s Moneysmart website has useful information for consumers about choosing a financial adviser, how to complain about a financial adviser and what to do if their adviser is banned.

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