The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced that it has banned Perth-based financial adviser Philip Leake from providing financial services for a period of five years. ASIC found that Mr Leake failed to act in his clients’ best interests when providing advice on life insurance.
ASIC’s surveillance of Mr Leake found that he had not considered his clients’ circumstances and what life insurance coverage they may need, nor their ability to pay for the insurance he recommended. Mr Leake failed to make a reasonable assessment of which life insurance products might be best suited to his clients’ needs.
ASIC also found that Mr Leake made false and misleading statements in his Statements of Advice, claiming to have considered his clients’ circumstances in relation to the waiting periods for income protection policies when he had not.
ASIC’s surveillance of Mr Leake looked at a number of his client files from Wealthsure Financial Services Pty Ltd, where he was an authorised representative from March 2015 until January 2018.
This outcome is a result of ASIC’s Life Insurance Lapse Data Project (LILD Project). The LILD Project was established in August 2016 to make greater use of data to focus ASIC’s surveillance of life insurance advice, with the aim of improving the life insurance advice provided to Australian consumers.
Under the LILD Project ASIC receives reports from life insurers that list the names of advisers who meet specific thresholds relating to lapsed policies. ASIC analyses these reports and other data to identify a group of high-risk advisers.
The resulting ‘high-risk list’ is not in itself an assessment of poor quality advice. The ‘high-risk list’ enables ASIC to target its surveillance activity. ASIC then reviews the quality of advice provided by advisers on the high-risk list to determine whether the advisers are acting in their clients’ best interests.