The Financial Planning Association Conduct Review Commission Disciplinary Panel has expelled financial adviser Darren Tindall and issued a fine of $16,000.
In a determination handed down on 10 February, the CRC decided to expel Tindall of PWM Advice, Orange, NSW, from the membership of the FPA for multiple breaches of the Code of Professional Practice.
The CRC found that Tindall failed to conduct himself professionally or ethically, acted with a lack of honesty, and engaged in acts of a misleading, deceptive, dishonest and fraudulent nature.
In his submissions, Tindall argued that a lesser fine should be applied as he gained no financial benefit by his actions, and that a heavy penalty would cause significant financial harm, but the CRC dismissed his claims, stating that expulsion was necessary for the protection of the profession, and the protection of the public.
"The public need to be able to trust the professionalism and ethics of the FPA's members," the panel stated.
"Given Mr Tindall's denials, the panel has no confidence any lesser sanction could be imposed that would meet the purpose of protection of the public."
Tindall is to pay a fine of $16,000, and must pay the costs and expenses of the FPA relating to the FPA's investigating and the disciplinary proceedings in the amount of $12,423.39.
Tindall first came to the attention of the FPA in 2014 after the association received a complaint relating to his conduct with a client in late 2013.
The complaint alleged that Tindall breached four sections of the FPA code including the giving of advice in relation to:
- an online insurance application that was submitted for a client that falsely failed to disclose medical conditions;
- a recommendation in a Statement of Advice that the client transfer her insurance, without disclosure of medical history; and
- sending an email that improperly disclosed client information
In January 2017, the CRC found that Tindall breached
all four allegations alleged and postponed announcing whether sanctions would be applied.
In the same month, corporate regulator ASIC also banned Tindall from providing financial services for a period five years.
Tindall has appealed the ban to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and has sought a stay of ASIC's decision, restricting the regulator from publishing their finding.The AAT heard the stay application on 27 January and on 9 February refused the stay, but has yet to set a date for the review of ASIC's banning decision.
The Association of Financial Advisers, of which Tindall is still a member, told Financial Standard it had only become aware of Tindall's indiscretions via media reports and had not received any similar complaints but is exploring the issue.
In a statement, AFA chief executive Brad Fox said the association's disciplinary procedures are built on fairness and will be used to assess the issues related to Tindall, with its key concern being the collection of facts.
Tindall has 21 days appeal the sanction to an alternative panel of the CRC.