Scandal-plagued Dover Financial closes, as ASIC probe continues

One of Australia’s largest financial advice firms, scandal-plagued Dover Financial, will shut down its business from July 8, amid an ongoing investigation by the corporate watchdog.

Dover has been under investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) since last year.

This was well before its owner Terry McMaster famously collapsed on the witness stand in April – after he was accused of lying, during his intense grilling about Dover’s “Orwellian” client protection policy at the banking royal commission.

Mr McMaster conceded this policy was a “misnomer”, particularly since it offered more legal protection to the firm than its customers.

The regulator confirmed it was “minded to suspend or cancel Dover’s AFSL” (Australian Financial Services Licence), and had served the firm with a notice of hearing.

“The matter has not gone to hearing but as a result of this notice, Dover and Mr McMaster have advised that, amongst other things, Dover will cease providing financial services,” ASIC’s spokesman said.

“At this stage ASIC does not intend to comment further. ASIC’s investigation is continuing.”

The Melbourne-based company employs more than 400 advisers and about 260 practices across the nation.

Its closure will leave around 30,000 of its clients with $20 billion in funds under advice in limbo.

Among other scandals involving the company, the royal commission heard that Mr McMaster threatened defamation proceedings after his client complained about Dover to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Mr McMaster also hired financial advisers, who had issues with their previous financial services licenses, including “serious breaches” of their licence conditions.

Under his employment, one adviser Julie Hamilton was banned by ASIC for three years, and the other, Koresh Houghton, was hit with a permanent ban.

Source: The New Daily

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