Just a few days after ASIC forced Dover to close. Philip Kewin of the AFA intervened to extend the 28 day deadline for Dover’s 410 advisers and 20,000 retail clients to find a new AFSL. This 28 day deadline was maliciously set by ASIC and was causing chaos. ASIC was well aware of this chaos. ASIC was actually happy about it. In Gervase Greene’s words ASIC was “on frontfoot” (sic).

Philip Kewin was doing the right thing. AFA was concerned about the advisers and the clients. AFA wanted ASIC to give the Dover advisers and clients more time to find a new AFSL. ASIC originally wanted to shut Dover overnight. It was to be a complete Dover closure on Friday 8 June 2018. Finito. Dover closed and 410 advisers without an AFSL and unable to practice.

Dover begged ASIC to not shut Dover overnight and to allow 4 months for advisers to find a new home. Dover suggested instead there be no advice from Friday 8 June and a four month wind down. ASIC agreed, but cut the four months to two months. Then, at the last moment, ASIC cut it further to just four weeks. Just 28 days for 410 advisers to find a new AFSL. And deal with 30 June year end issues without being able to advise their clients.

It was a cruel and unnecessary cut. Dover had agreed to cease advice on 8 June 2018. So what difference did it make to ASIC how long the advisers and clients had to transfer to a new AFSL? No difference at all. Nevertheless, ASIC cut the notice period to just four weeks. This created chaos for advisers and clients alike. More than 100 Dover advisers did not make the deadline, and lost their practices. Hundreds of others just made it, but suffered huge losses and inconvenience.

It was as mindless as it was malicious. Nothing to be gained at all. Not a shred of public interest. What sort of a regulator does that? I can tell you. One like ASIC.

ASIC deliberately misled and deceived the AFA.

AFA asked ASIC to extend the 28 days notice period, to help advisers and their clients.

ASIC indicated it was powerless to act. There was nothing ASIC could do. It was completely Terry McMaster’s call to close Dover on 28 days notice. ASIC could not extend the 28 days. ASIC was powerless to help… .

ASIC misled and deceived the AFA. ASIC denied it had a role in Dover’s closure. ASIC  insisted closing Dover was completely Terry McMaster’s “orchestration”. There was nothing ASIC could do to help the AFA help its members and their clients.

Yes, ASIC misled the AFA about the closure of Dover. Obviously ASIC could extend the 28 day notice period. ASIC could have said to Philip “No worries. You make a good point: 28 days is far too short. ASIC made a mistake but it’s easy to fix it. So we will. You can have as much time as you need. It makes no difference to ASIC.” But ASIC did not do this, as easy as it would have been. Instead ASIC deliberately misled Phillip Kewin the 28 day deadline was outside of ASIC’s control and “completely Terry McMaster’s orchestration”.

The effect of course was significant: it diverted public criticism about the unprecedented ASIC closing of a large AFSL from ASIC to Terry McMaster. It was as malicious and nasty as it was intentional and calculated.

ASIC intended this diversion. It was disgracefully deceptive and maliciously misleading. For from being Terry McMaster’s orchestration, it was completely ASIC’s orchestration.

ASIC’s was happy to do it

ASIC’s National Media Manager Gervase Greene w gleefully gloated to his workmates about how happy ASIC was to shut Dover down.

A great day for ASIC

What a great day for ASIC.  What a team effort. After just one prosecution in ten years ASIC’s track record was looking up. ASIC finally had something to be proud of. ASIC finally acting tough, even if its senior executives were lying about what actually happened.

ASIC tells the AFA it had nothing to do with Dover’s closure

ASIC told Philip there was nothing ASIC could do to help the AFA’s intervention.  ASIC could not extend the 28 days. The closure of Dover was completely Terry McMaster’s “orchestration”: ASIC strongly  implied ASIC had not forced to close Dover.

More particularly at 7.19pm on 12 June 2018 Philip wrote to ASIC:

“…thanks for your time today. It did give me some clarity because to be honest it was not completely clear and there are many rumours flying around. Our interpretation was that while Terry pulled the trigger it was at ASIC’s instigation, thus my comments to the trade media about looking to ASIC or the minister for an extension as one month is insufficient time to transition for advisers and potential licencees. We just didn’t know this was completely Terry McMaster’s orchestration and not merely a reaction to directions from ASIC.

ASIC lied to Philip Kerwin. It was not a harmless white lie. It was a malicious and evil lie that caused significant financial losses to a large number of Dover advisers and their clients. The AFA was trying to do the right thing by its members. The AFA asked ASIC to extend the 28 days notice period. The AFA acted in good faith. ASIC responded with bad faith: ASIC played dirty pool.

ASIC’ lied to the AFA’s Philip Kewin to successfully shoot down the AFA’s planned intervention. ASIC falsely implied ASIC did not have the power to extend the 28 days notice period. In Philip Kewin’s words ASIC explicitly stated it was “completely Terry McMaster’s orchestration and not merely a reaction to directions from ASIC” fully aware this was not true, ASIC had forced Dover to close and ASIC could increase the 28 days notice if it wanted to.

What is the penalty for engaging in activity like this?

Its complex. But in summary the penalty for misleading and deceptive conduct on this scale is termination of employment. Bear in mind its not a first offence. ASIC has form in this space: ASIC investigators oversaw the falsification of the reports on the advice of each of Terry McMaster and Florence Tee documented in recent Friday Reflections. These reports were provided to the Hayne Royal Commission.

ASIC is a repeat offender.

ASIC in  on the public record calling out financial planners for engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct: ASIC has banned dozens of financial planners for far lesser transgressions. There cannot be two sets of rules. One for financial planners and another for  ASIC executives. What sort of an example would that be? What sort of a regulator treats its executives differently to those it regulates? What sort of an example does that set?

The appropriate penalty for each ASIC co-conspirator is the termination of their employment. It’s what they dished out to others. ASIC cannot deny the same penalties should apply to its own staff.

ASIC and Australian Public Service Commission documents concerning nasty senior executive behaviour like this

Please read the following documents carefully and you will learn why.

Guidelines for managing allegations of misconduct against ASIC officers









Proof ASIC forced Dover to close down

Proof Joanna Bird lied to Philip Kerwin

Proof Dover did the right thing and gave Joanna Bird the chance to apologise and rectify

Proof Joanna Bird did not do the right thing and continued to cover up her lie

[1] You can read Joanna’s Linked in commentary here: https://au.linkedin.com/in/joanna-bird-a33547159

[2] You can read Philip Kewin’s email to Joanna Bird in full below