ASIC bans former NAB advisor for incompetence
Financial Services June 28, 2018 11:40 pm By Christine Caulfield

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has banned former NAB advisor Graeme Cowper from offering financial services for four years, after an investigation found he was not up to the job.

The administrative ban is the first by the corporate watchdog’s new Financial Services and Credit panel following a hearing, ASIC said Thursday.

The NSW-based Cowper, who also worked for a stint at AMP subsidiary IPAC Securities, was not adequately trained and not competent to provide financial advice, an ASIC investigation found.

Cowper worked as a financial advisor at NAB, AON and Tynan McKenzie between 2007 and 2015, when he transferred to IPAC.

The panel found Cowper had a “fundamental lack of understanding” of his duties and obligations under the Corporations Act. He was also found to have given inappropriate advice to a number of clients between 2007 and 2013.

Specifically, Cowper recommended gearing strategies to a client who could not afford it and advised another client to switch superannuation funds without warning them that the new fund was more expensive and that its insurance did not cover a pre-existing condition.

The ban against Cowper is part of ASIC’s wealth management project, established in October 2014, to lift the game of the major financial advice providers, NAB, AMP, Westpac, ANZ, CBA and Macquarie.

The regulator has banned 48 advisors and one director as part of the project. Five of those bans are currently under appeal.

Cowper sued Fairfax Media for defamation after a 2015 report in the Sydney Morning Herald revealed NAB had alerted ASIC to Cowper in 2010 and had quietly compensated Cowper’s clients.

Cowper dropped his suit mid-trial.

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Christine Caulfield

Christine Caulfield has been a journalist for 18 years. She was most recently the Co-Managing Editor at US legal news publication Law360. Prior to that she worked as the County Court reporter for The Herald Sun. She is Co-Founder and Editor of Lawyerly.