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Financial Planning
Former Aon Hewitt adviser banned

ASIC has banned a former authorised representative of Aon Hewitt from providing financial services for four years.

Andrew Hills has been banned following ASIC surveillance. He was an authorised representative of Aon Hewitt from February 2009 to December 2018.

The regulator's investigation found that between 2014 and 2017, Hills allowed or authorised misleading and inaccurate letters about superannuation to be issued to some Aon Master Trust Members.

ASIC alleges the letters misrepresented the past performance of Aon MySuper and the timing of when members would transition to MySuper.

The letters omitted material information about the intended benefits of MySuper, such as lower fees and insurance premiums, ASIC said. The letters also failed to disclose that it would be in Hills' interests if members decided to opt out of MySuper because his company would continue to receive commissions.

ASIC said some letters were "seriously misleading" negative consent letters, telling members they would be opted out of MySuper within five working days if they did not respond.

As a result of the letters, hundreds of members did not fully transition into MySuper. Instead, they remained in a choice product that was more expensive.

In June 2020 close to $3 million was remediated to 1266 Aon smartMonday members after two third-party authorised representatives failed to comply with the Stronger Super reforms. This instance was cited as a case study in the Royal Commission.

Under the reforms, a member's accrued default amounts of super were to be transferred to a MySuper option by 1 July 2017, unless a member opted out of the transfer.

An accrued default amount is the amount of a member's superannuation interests where the member has not given the fund trustee any direction about the investment option to be applied, or that is invested in the fund's default investment option.

Hills has the right to appeal at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Read more: ASICAon HewittAon MySuperAndrew HillsAdministrative Appeals TribunalAon Master Trust MembersAon smartMondayRoyal CommissionStronger Super