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ASIC commences proceedings against Diversa

The regulator is taking Diversa Trustees to court over failing to maintain oversight of a now banned financial adviser.

Diversa is the trustee for $1 billion Future Super, Mason Stevens Super, ING Super and MAP Master Super - later known as OneSuper - among other funds.

ASIC has commenced civil proceedings against Diversa, alleging that between March 2019 and December 2020 it was aware that ASIC was investigating a business run by financial adviser Nizi Bhandari for contraventions of the law but did not take adequate action and continued to allow him to put clients into Diversa's superannuation product.

This allegedly saw Diversa continuing to allow the payment of fees from the super fund to Bhandari.

Diversa was acquired by Pacific Infrastructure Partners in December 2020, it was previously owned by OneVue and then the now collapsed Sargon.

Diversa outsourced day-to-day operations to OneVue during the period in question, according to ASIC's filing, therefore the regulator wants OneVue held accountable for not providing proper oversight of Bhandari.

It is alleged he put clients in a Diversa product just to earn fees, when doing so was not in the client's best interests.

ASIC alleges that the OneVue company group acted on behalf of Diversa and facilitated Bhandari putting clients into Diversa products via his company, The Australian Dealer Group.

The regulator also alleges that Diversa did not act efficiently, honestly, and fairly because it failed to provide proper oversight of the activities of OneVue nor take appropriate action regarding the activities of The Australian Dealer Group and Bhandari involving its superannuation fund.

Bhandari was permanently banned by ASIC in March 2021 after an investigation found he was giving personal advice while only authorised to give general advice and was prioritising his own interests over the interests of clients, charging fees for super fund consolidation without transparency or fairness.

Read more: ASICOneVueDiversa TrusteesAustralian Dealer GroupNizi BhandariFuture SuperING SuperMAP Master SuperMason Stevens SuperOneSuperPacific Infrastructure PartnersSargon