Watchdog guns for fees

ASIC has confirmed it is investigating multiple instances of financial services professionals charging clients for advice without actually providing any.

The investigations are part of ASIC’s larger focus on the conduct of financial advice firms, and found advices fees are often being charged as part of a client’s service agreement, even when advice is not given.

The potential breaches are being investigated by ASIC’s Wealth Management Project, set up last year as a response to revelations of poor quality advice by major banks, Macquarie and AMP.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell says: “ASIC will consider all regulatory options, including enforcement action, where we find evidence of breaches of the law relating to fees being charged where no advice service has been provided.

“We will look to ensure that advice licensees follow a proper process of customer remediation and reimbursement of fees where such breaches have occurred.”

The investigations are continuing.