ASIC lifts licence conditions on CountPlus subsidiary

ASIC has lifted the licence conditions it imposed on a CountPlus subsidiary after it paid $2.5 million in remediation to its clients following a compliance issue in 2015.

In September, 2015 ASIC placed additional licence conditions on Total Financial Solutions's  Australian financial services licence (AFSL) after an authorised Queensland-based adviser was found to have failed to act in clients' best interests .

The regulator alleged Brian Dobinson used a "one size fits all" model while advising clients, disregarding their individual circumstances, among other things.

ASIC subsequently banned Dobinson permanently from financial services industry.

"ASIC acknowledges TFSA's cooperative approach to completing the remediation program and improving its compliance standards," ASIC said.

TFS since initiated remediation with 522 clients and the matter is now resolved, according to TFS chief executive Andrew Kennedy.

The company made changes to its management, including the executive lineup and the board.

"A new management team and board, together with expert legal and compliance advisers, overseen by the regulator, have undertaken a forensic examination of our business, its procedures and policies. The top-to-bottom re-build has not only satisfied the corporate regulator, but we believe sets up TFS for an immediate return to promoting the firm and recruiting advice businesses aligned around our enduring client centric, professional advice principles," Kennedy said.

FPA chair Mark Rantall was hired as an independent chairman following ASIC's investigation.

The new leadership reframed its governance platforms, re-set remuneration practices and designed and implemented quality assurance policies and processes, TFS said.

In 2015, TFSA also agreed to appoint an ASIC-approved compliance expert for 18 months.

"The compliance expert also reviewed aspects of TFSA's compliance arrangements, specifically in relation to monitoring and supervision of representatives. The compliance expert made a number of recommendations which have been implemented by TFSA," ASIC said.

Read more: ASICAdviserCountPlusAndrew KennedyBrian DobinsonMark RantallTotal Financial Solutions
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