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ASIC Deputy Peter Kell wants to protect the Bank Executives - his pathetic story and no mention of victims......

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ASIC blasts Commonwealth FP on YouTube

Written by Aleks VickovichMonday, 05 May 2014


ASIC has called for stronger powers to take action against executives and managers in the financial advice industry, amid allegations of further wrongdoing by former CBA-aligned advisers.

In a YouTube video uploaded this morning, ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell spoke directly to the Australian public about the Commonwealth Financial Planning scandal, pre-empting an ABC TV report scheduled to air this evening.

“Tonight the ABC Four Corners is doing a story on Commonwealth Financial Planning, or CFP, and the conduct of that company’s financial planners six years ago,” Mr Kell said. 

“I wanted to tell you what ASIC has done about CFP and the financial planning industry more generally; what CFP did six years ago was simply unacceptable.  Pete it was FRAUD......

“Commonwealth financial planners were giving very poor advice to clients, driven by conflicted commission payments. This was part of a wider problem of unacceptable standards and conflicts of interest right across the financial planning industry that ASIC publicly identified.”

Mr Kell explained that the “severity” of the inappropriate advice provided by some Commonwealth FP advisers led the corporate regulator to take enforcement action, and also took the opportunity to highlight enforcement actions more broadly “against many individuals and firms, large and small”.

The regulator also reiterated calls for “law reforms” that would allow ASIC to take “enforcement action against the executives and managers in the financial planning industry that have done the wrong thing”. 

Mr Kell also listed the “three areas” where ASIC “could have done better with CFP”, admitting that “ASIC should have acted faster”, that “ASIC should have been more transparent at the time about the action we were already taking against CFP” and should have “communicated better with the whistleblowers”.

The FPA also issued a statement this morning ahead of the scheduled Four Corners report, explaining that a subject of the report, former Financial Wisdom (CBA) authorised representative Rollo Sherriff was previously expelled from the association’s membership.

“It is on the record that the Financial Planning Association of Australia took disciplinary action against Mr Sherriff as early as 2004. Mr Sherriff’s membership to the FPA was suspended a decade ago,” the statement said. 

“In addition to this disciplinary action, Mr Sherriff was terminated as a member of the FPA well over four years ago. Mr Sherriff is listed on the FPA’s consumer website as a banned member in accordance with section 16.1 of the FPA professional constitution.”




0#13 Steve A 2014-05-05 19:20
I am an AR of a large advice group which also sells products. Maybe I've been lucky but I have never felt pressure to sell particular products and have always been encouraged to act in the clients best interests.

Because of this, I have always assumed that those who sell product at any cost are the exception rather than the rule. However, these recent revelations are "the straw that broke the camels back" in my mind. Sheer weight of numbers shows the rogues are in fact the norm.

1. Ban product providers from giving "advice". Force them to make up their minds about which side of the fence they sit;
2. Ban publicly listed companies from owning advice groups. The ultimate pressure to make quick profits comes from the need to meet shareholder expectations. Remove this pressure.

Of course, the vested interests will make sure this never happens and no government of any persuasion will have the balls to force it.
0#12 Patrick McMenamin 2014-05-05 16:10
It seems to me Peter Kell, as with his appearance at Senate enquiry, is busy trying to cover his backside. Equivalent scale of failures by an individual adviser would have resulted in expulsion from the industry. I believe it might have been David Murray who was CEO of CBA during both the CFP and the Storm Financial debacles. I may be mistaken, and if so I withdraw with apologies, but I believe David Murray also signed off "due diligence" and CBA had made an offer to acquire Storm for its "distribution power". It seems Mr Murray knew and approved of Storm's tactics, a fact vigorously denied after the GFC market collapse.
0#11 Adrian 2014-05-05 15:55
It is quite appalling that it has taken a TV program to get ASIC active. Enforceable undertakings mean nothing to the consumer and effectively it provides the offending party with the cleanest way out "I promise to do the right thing from now on!"
Make the hard calls, banning orders and a register to inform everyone who are the rotten eggs is a must, as is an efficient whistleblowing mechanism to ensure those ethically minded individuals willing to stand up for what's right are heard and action is taken.
ASIC has a lot to answer for...
+4#10 Anne 2014-05-05 13:29
I want to know who was in charge of CFP and who was the CEO of the CBA when this fraudulent behaviour and trashing of CBA's loyal customers was going on. All the focus has been on the planners putting their clients into high risk and inappropriate investments, but who was setting the targets and receiving the fat bonuses at the top of the management tree? ASIC should go after them.
+3#9 Steven Skinner 2014-05-05 12:40

You have failed clients and the community, not CBA.

You must completely separate businesses that sell products from businesses that provide advice.

...otherwise you will never ever remove "conflicts of interest".

It's really very simple ASIC... now the challenge is for you to unravel it!
+4#8 TD 2014-05-05 12:33
Worked for the CBA 6 years ago and good advise mattered little. I lasted 1 year. At the peak of the market in 2007 I was constantly told by direct management I should have been using more gearing and getting clients out of Term Deposits. Other advisers were put on pedestals for gearing in circumstances that made me shudder in the name of FUM. I too had to leave before they forced me into a position where I would have been lynched by clients just 6 months later. Way too higher price just to keep my job.
+6#7 David Munro 2014-05-05 12:22
Why are the top people in ASIC still there? Mr Kell listed the “three areas” where ASIC “could have done better with CFP” and many others., admitting that “ASIC should have acted faster”, that “ASIC should have been more transparent at the time about the action we were already taking against CFP” and should have “communicated better with the whistleblowers” .Who believes that other banks product suppliers are also "protected" Next we will be told they are too big to let fail! Any smaller AFSL would have lost their licence.
+3#6 Dave 2014-05-05 12:21
Some issues stand out here for further attention. Action against management who did nothing and forced the whistle blower to go direct to ASIC. ASIC did nothing when informed or were they informed well after a clean up.Long standing sales culture above ethics, compliance etc- does it still exist or hidden under a new title. Maybe the real issues will come out and a culture be exposed instead of hiding certain practices and shooting the adviser as a cover, whether deserved or not. Sales and profit are the drivers here- not good practices.
+9#5 Johno 2014-05-05 11:38
Used to work at Comm FP 4 years ago. I smashed 9 out of 10 KPI's on our scorecard (literally around 200% of expectations on each), the one KPI I missed was "FUM sales", which I was 80% of target on. As a result, I (and everyone else in the business who missed their FUM KPI) was given an overall "underperformin g" at end of year performace review. I quit straight away. My client feedback, revenue, compliance, everything was well in excess of expectations, but none of that mattered, it was FUM at all costs. Hopefully they've changed these days...?
+4#4 David NoFurries 2014-05-05 11:33
"Mr Sherriff’s membership to the FPA was suspended a decade ago,” more questions than answers -
1. Disciplinary action by FPA in 2004 and yet CBA/Wisdom put him on a pedestal?
2. ASIC more re-active than pro-active?
3. Why doesn't ASIC go after the execs at the top that were driving the bad culture at CBA?
Time to get rid off Banks holding AFSL's, get rid of ASIC and create new independent regulatory body.
+5#3 anti-VI 2014-05-05 11:05
Good point shane, someone should take it up with asic. I note that the author has used the correct acronym Commonwealth FP, only kell uses the incorrect. must be some boiling blood over at the fpa
+5#2 Shane 2014-05-05 11:01
It should be pointed out that CFP is the wrong abbreviation of Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited.
+7#1 Gerry 2014-05-05 10:59
Financial advisers blow the whistle and nothing happens...but oh dear, as soon as the media wants to run a story on it, ASIC all of a sudden pay attention.


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  • doyla66
    doyla66 Tuesday, 06 May 2014


    Well said waiting for justice, what gives ASIC the right to protect the banking system and hierarchy from criminal intent using fraud as a means to con borrowers unless they are looking after their own interests and spin offs from the banks themselves. Remember the good Senator Bishop saying "they don't care how much it costs the banks, if they have used fraud and forgery, that is their penalty". I must say that when the senator come out and made that statement all ASIC members didn't know what to say and looked completely dumb founded, especially Mr Kirk. Time now ASIC to clean up your act, demand the EDR's change their attitude and ways and if information on laf's is more than a slip of the pen (meaning one error) then the banks must be held accountable for lax procedure and lack of due diligence. It's the banks system of criminal intent so hold them accountable and you can bet they would become more compliant with proper procedure and ethics. ASIC's time as consumer protector has just about run out as they have failed miserably.

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Tuesday, 06 May 2014

    ASIC's reputation too damaged to salvage - it's in the sin bin and beyond hope.

    Shoulda, woulda, coulda .... when are ASIC going to start speaking plain Aussie English about exactly what is going to be different after yet another financial regulatory stuff up? Note to ASIC: Tomorrow starts today. Can the fluffy language. Get down to tin tacks and a whole raft of actual, rubber hits the road, action. No excuses for blatant incompetence will be accepted ever again from our corporate cop from any Australia.

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