The corporate regulator has permanently banned Morgan Stanley Wealth Management financial adviser Andrew Peter Panayiotides following breaches of the best interest duty.
ASIC said that Mr Panayiotides had “failed to act in the best interests of clients” and provided them with inappropriate advice regarding exchange traded options (ETOs).
“Mr Panayiotides' conduct resulted in each of the client's superannuation accounts being significantly exposed to short cash covered ETO positions that were contrary to the risk profile declarations provided by the clients,” the regulator said.
Additionally, ASIC said Mr Panayiotides was either aware of, or “ought reasonably to have known” that there was a conflict of interest between the financial benefit he received from advising clients to enter ETO transactions and the clients’ best interests.
Mr Panayiotides was also found to have issued a false invoice, made improper payments into clients’ bank accounts from his own funds, provided unethical superannuation withdrawal advice to a client, and entering a personal loan arrangement with a client in return for offering a reduced brokerage while at another firm.
ASIC said Mr Panayiotides was “not of good fame or character” given his breaches were not isolated and took place over a long period of time, and that he was likely to breach financial services regulation again in the future.
“Financial advisers are expected to act in the best interests of clients. ASIC will ensure appropriate enforcement action is taken against advisers who fail in this duty,” said ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour.