The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has issued a public warning about registered financial adviser Brian Ferguson, an insurance adviser from Palmerston North.
The warning follows an investigation where he was found to have copied and pasted client signatures into insurance policy documents, which were between third party insurers and clients advised by Ferguson.
The FMA has stated that it is ‘satisfied that Mr Ferguson contravened section 34 of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 because the conduct involved was misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive.’
“In two separate instances, Mr Ferguson either personally carried out or requested a member of the administrative staff to insert a client’s signature on documents by creating a copy of the client’s signature and physically taping it onto the missing signature box,” the regulator stated.
“In one instance, Mr Ferguson had the consent of the client. In the second instance, Mr Ferguson claims it was done with the verbal consent of the client.”
The FMA accepts that Ferguson’s conduct was not intended to mislead those purchasing the policies – however, the conduct was likely to mislead the insurer who did not know of the substitution.
“Mr Ferguson’s misconduct is serious, falling significantly below the care, diligence and skill a reasonable financial adviser would exercise,” said Liam Mason, FMA Director of Regulation. “This warning is being made public to deter both Mr Ferguson and others in the market from engaging in similar misconduct.”