Former Westpac adviser permanently banned

A former Westpac financial adviser was permanently banned for providing inappropriate advice that placed a number of clients' retirements in jeopardy.

Subeer Luthra was banned by ASIC following surveillance that found he dishonestly altered his clients' priorities to suit his own interests.

Luthra did not take his clients' needs and objectives into consideration when he advised them to switch their superannuation to a product issued by BT and to also take out personal insurance.

He also recommended BT insurance and super products to all his clients without investigating their existing products.

ASIC said the inappropriate advice saw clients paying excessive insurance premiums that eroded their super balances at a time in their life when they could not possibly rebuild their assets ahead of retiring.

According to the ASIC Financial Adviser Register, Luthra was licensed by Westpac from March 2013 to April 2016. He is also a member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA).

Luthra prioritised his interests over those of his clients to maximise the fees and commissions payable to Westpac and himself, the regulator said.

ASIC determined Luthra is not of good fame or character to provide financial services, deeming his conduct to have been deliberate and motivated by personal enrichment.

He was also permanently banned from engaging in credit activities; with ASIC saying he dishonestly manipulated his clients' aims and objectives, prioritising his own interests.

"The failure of financial advisers to act in the best of interests of their clients or to prioritise their clients' interests over their own erodes public trust in financial services professionals and affects the financial system as whole. Individual advisers have a role to play in rebuilding that trust," ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said.

"ASIC expects financial advisers to uphold the values of integrity and professionalism. Conduct that results in harm to consumers will not be tolerated."

Read more: ASICWestpacBTSubeer LuthraDanielle PressFinancial Planning Association of AustraliaFPA
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