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ASIC declines to immediately name its Dixon Advisory decision-makers

Mike Taylor5 June 2024
Three wise monkeys

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been unable to immediately name the former senior executive responsible for deciding how the regular pursued Dixon Advisory.

As well, ASIC deputy chair, Sarah Court, has suggested that the issue might not have been handled significantly differently today.

Court and ASIC chair, Joe Longo declined to immediately name the ASIC commissioner originally responsible for the Dixon Advisory approach and opted, instead, to take the question from NSW Liberal Senator, Andrew Bragg, on notice.

Court’s responses came against the background of financial planning groups, including the Financial Advice Association of Australia (FAAA) and the Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) Association expressing concern at the cost being imposed on individual advisers to fund the cost of Dixon Advisory complaints directed to the Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR).

It also came against the background of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) revealing to Senate Estimates that the number of complaints relating to the Dixon Advisory complaints had escalated by almost a third between February and May to climb from 1,948 to 2,510.

AFCA also confirmed that its receipt of complaints against Dixon Advisory had been driven by ASIC having insisted that Dixon Advisory remain a member of AFCA despite entering administration.

The AFCA representatives also said that there had been no specific meetings with the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones, dealing with the implications of the Dixon collapse.

ASIC also acknowledged that while Dixon Advisory had been the subject of a “significant civil penalty” of $7.2 million plus costs, the fact that it had entered administration meant it was highly unlikely to pay that penalty.

Pressed on the decision-making processes Court sought to separate the situation which existed with ASIC decision-making in 2020 with that which exists today with the reality of the CSLR.

Further, she argued that whether ASIC pursued Dixon Advisory as the licensee or its authorised representatives, the outcome would likely have been the same in circumstances where the business entered administration.

“If it were today, then the enforcement committee of the commission would be making the decision based on recommendations from our investigation teams and based on legal advice that we receive prior to commencing proceedings,” Court said.

“That is how the system works today but, back in 2020 I wasn’t at ASIC but I assume the then enforcement committee signed off on it,” she said.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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Useless ASIC
1 month ago

ASIC are complete failures
ASIC have Zero accountability
ASIC had 10 plus years of warnings of the Dodgy Dixon’s MIS fiasco and did NOTHING.
ASIC allowed Dixon’s to float on the ASX knowing of the dodgy MIS fiasco.
ASIC allowed Dixon’s to Phenix into a new entity and carry on as is.
Then ASIC advertise for complaints to be lodged and ensure AFCA keeps open for Dixon’s even after in administion so ASIC can push all costs to Advisers via CSLR.

Uber Qualified Adviser
1 month ago

What a disgrace.
By the way, where is the red tape reduction for real advisers ?
Where is it ?

Marco Spaniol
1 month ago

I’m not a big adviser, we aren’t a big firm. we dont make huge amounts of profits, but with rising costs we are cutting back where we can

I’ve been working in this industry for decades, always do the right thing by my clients, have never got a complaint, and work extremely hard. We don’t charge exorbitant fees, just trying to give our client’s an honest fee for an honest job done.

But despite my professional and work ethics, despite my honest values, despite our humble turnover, this Government feels I should be punished, not ever stating that I am a criminal, but punishing me like one nonetheless. I am so furious that this Government cares nothing about my livelihood, or for my clients, we have done everything they have ever asked us to.

To me the biggest criminal in all this is Stephen Jones, I’ll be voting for his party’s removal next election, and will be encouraging everyone I know to do likewise.

1 month ago
Reply to  Marco Spaniol

Stephen Jones boosts dud Islamic super fund
The minister in charge of the super sector still provides tacit endorsement to a fund that performs so badly it is being regulated out of stand-alone existence.

1 month ago
Reply to  Marco Spaniol

In my opinion, punishment is the only time financial advisers seem to be treated as professionals.

There is little or no evidence to suggest we are treated as members of a profession with regard to anything else.

Last edited 1 month ago by Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Marco Spaniol

Maybe someone should ask Stephen whether the below would seem ethical. Seems like he has no problem feathering his own nest.

“Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones has been charging taxpayers for expensive car rides while also claiming cash back for a privately-issued vehicle, racking up a bill worth tens of thousands in just nine months.”

1 month ago

“ASIC also acknowledged that while Dixon Advisory had been the subject of a “significant civil penalty” of $7.2 million plus costs, the fact that it had entered administration meant it was highly unlikely to pay that penalty.

Comment: In order to have this penalty against Dixon Advisory applied, that would have cost money to have ASIC action this…. Who paid for that?

Is it correct to say that financial advisers are on the hook twice here? One cost through ASIC levy to recover nothing and then pay for it again through the CSLR?

1 month ago

ASIC are one big government department that the country can do without. They are absolutely useless and add nothing.

Miss Otis Regrets
1 month ago

You couldn’t write this stuff if you were Shakespeare. For 30 years a smart talking but down-dressing smoothie, posing as a “non-adviser”, defamed every other adviser in the industry on radio, TV and in print media. Then he sets up a business using a few famous financial names to endorse and promote the new business. He keeps saying that his business does not take commissions of any sort, yet funnily enough all of the life risk written in that business was at Max-Comms, according to one of his ex risk advisers.

Then his business becomes a product manufacturer after the GFC and goes BIG!. He then attaches his new vertically integrated products to his favourite piece of pro-forma advice – SMSF’s for everybody. His URF apparently owned a sizable proportion of New Jersey and, according to the AFR, the fees paid by un-suspecting mum and dad SMSF trustees were gigantic. Gouge city!

Complaints were registered to ASIC from advisers, but were ignored, just like adviser complaints on Storm, because ASIC always considers adviser complaints about bad habits in the competition as being primarily based on self-interest.

Knowing of the aura of this man in the eyes of some at ASIC (ex-Treasury officer etc.), I suspect a few of the regulators staff, particularly those on shorter term contracts, would have engaged with this man and his business and set up an SMSF. Just like Bernie Madoff, this man knew how to impress the right people.

Unsurprisingly, but predictably, it eventually all falls in a steaming heap. ASIC has no idea who left the steaming heap in the middle-of-the-road, but convinces government it would be good idea if all the other advisers paid up for customer losses. No need to go to the much larger business that purchased this mess a few years back, let’s just socialise the losses, because the advisers who are expected to pay the bill are a loose volunteer army apparently represented by a bunch of nice people, who would never go to the street battlements in the name of a cause.

A Shakespearean tragedy in three parts. Birnam Wood has certainly arrived at Dunsinane.

Advisers alone will be the recipient of the hot oil poured over the parapet, with no options to retreat.

One foot out the door.
1 month ago

We had a Dixon client come in once who Dixon set up in an SMSF with $16,000.

1 month ago

I’m willing to go to the street battlements. Enough is enough.

Former Dixon Client
1 month ago

As of today (6th June, 2024) AFCA has published 8 decisions against Dixon Advisory, all in favour of the complainants. A common thread in all cases is that the Investment Committee (IC) of Dixon Advisory directed the actions of it’s advisors to make the recommendations to invest in related party investments. At the time of the wrong doings Alan Dixon headed up the business, was the person involved in setting up and managing URF and many of the other related party investments and for most of the time was on the IC. Draw your own conclusions from this. So why aren’t criminal proceedings being actioned against the IC and particularly Alan Dixon?

Andy Semple
1 month ago

Two words describe ASIC – Charlie Foxtrot