Former Gold Coast adviser banned

ASIC banned a former authorised representative of the now-defunct Austplan after clients were found to have been placed in a vulnerable financial position as a result of his advice.

Gold Coast financial adviser Daniel Renneberg is banned from providing financial services for five years after ASIC surveillance found he failed to act in the best interests of clients, including advising them to set up self-managed super funds with "completely unsuitable" limited recourse loans.

According to the corporate regulator, advice reviewed during Renneberg's tenure at Austplan shows he received referrals from GM Homes Australia to help their clients purchase investment properties through SMSFs he would help establish.

In doing so, Renneberg failed to provide appropriate financial advice or act in the best interests of clients, ASIC said.

"He has advised some clients to set up SMSFs with limited recourse borrowing arrangements that were completely unsuitable and placed his clients in a vulnerable financial position," ASIC said.

The regulator also said Renneberg "completely failed" to consider the needs, objectives and circumstances of his clients. ASIC added Renneberg also failed to provide clients with statements of advice to demonstrate the advice he provided and the information on which he provided it.

ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said= SMSFs are not suitable for everyone, and advisers recommending SMSFs only for the purpose of borrowing money to purchase property should expect swift action if issues arise.

"Financial advisers must not rely solely on client direction when establishing an SMSF. They must adequately demonstrate why an SMSF is appropriate and why it is in their clients' best interests," Press said.

"ASIC expects financial advisers to use their skills, expertise and judgement in determining whether an SMSF is indeed appropriate for their clients' personal circumstances and needs."

Austplan's issues with home referrals for SMSFs are not new. Last year the firm was forced to forego its Australian financial services licence after ASIC said it was concerned about the its ability to "do all things necessary to ensure the advice provided by its representatives was compliant".

Renneberg was Austplan's sole director when its AFSL was cancelled last November and was an authorised representative from 1 March 2015 until 5 June 2018. Earlier, he was an authorised representative of Professional Investment Services, from 11 April 2006 until 14 May 2010.

Read more: ASICAustplanGold CoastDaniel RennebergDanielle PressGM Homes AustraliaProfessional Investment Services
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