The loyal subscriber might have noticed a certain disquiet here about the kid gloves ASIC applied to AMP when the watch puppy discovered widespread failure by AMP financial planners to do the right thing in switching customers out of other super funds into AMP products.

The disquiet was greater again over the rather cavalier attitude AMP has taken about whether some of its financial planners have been shonky in their super switching, even allowing the planners themselves to decide what cases might be worthy of review.

But it turns out the whole episode looks even worse for ASIC. Early last year ASIC came down like the proverbial tonne of building materials on an individual Macquarie Bank financial adviser for doing on a very small scale what seems to have been happening en masse with AMP.

The Smage has the yarn today of the adviser, Julian Hayes, succeeding in having a three-and-a-half year ban reduced to one year. He had talked nine clients – all friends, colleagues or relatives – into switching out of their existing superannuation funds into a Macquarie product. ASIC found there was no justification for Hayes switching the clients and that he had advised “carelessly and recklessly”.

Compare and contrast the ASIC sledgehammer applied to Hayes over a year-long investigation culminating in his banning last February with the sweetheart deal given to AMP.

The AMP financial advisers suspected of doing exactly the same thing but on a much greater scale are being left completely alone by ASIC. It’s been left up to AMP and the individual planners to decide which clients should be offered a review of their cases if said clients want a review of their cases. No penalties, no banning, no nothing of any advisers who might have acted “recklessly and carelessly” at AMP.

Silly me, expecting or even hoping for any sort of consistency in the application of the law.

Peter Fray

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