The Financial Planning Association of Australia The Financial Planning Association of Australia

Two members suspended by Conduct Review Commission

The Conduct Review Commission (CRC), the independent disciplinary body of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), has determined that FPA members Mr Matthew Brown, and in a separate case Ms Dianne Bainbridge, breached the FPA’s Code of Professional Practice (FPA Code). This has resulted in the CRC imposing immediate sanctions after neither party opted to file an appeal.

Effective immediately, Mr Brown’s FPA membership and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation have been suspended for two years, including rights and privileges. Mr Brown’s details have been removed from the FPA Find A Planner directory and he has been stood down as Chapter Chair of the Gold Coast FPA Chapter Committee. Mr Brown refunded the affected clients in a manner approved by the FPA when he first became aware of the concerns raised. He is also required to reimburse FPA costs and expenses in relation to the matter.

Following a review of advice provided as part of the Cbus FPA Professional Practice Referral Program, the FPA initiated a complaint and investigation relating to the advice and conduct of Mr Brown in August 2017. In October 2018, the CRC panel determined he breached the FPA Code in seven of the 14 instances of alleged breaches.

The CRC has asked Mr Brown to submit details of the steps he will take to improve advice practices and systems. If the reported improvements are not satisfactory, Mr Brown is to undertake further training and education.

Separately, Ms Dianne Bainbridge has had her FPA membership and Financial Planner AFP® designation suspended for six months by the CRC, including rights and privileges, following a complaint raised by a former client in November 2017. Ms Bainbridge’s details have also been removed from the FPA Find a Planner directory.

The FPA investigated the alleged conduct and the matter was referred to the Chair of the CRC in July 2018. In November 2018, the CRC panel determined that Ms Bainbridge had breached the FPA Code, with sanctions being handed down in December 2018. She will undertake additional training and education in management and risk management.

During the suspension period the FPA will undertake a compliance review of Ms Bainbridge’s client documentation. Ms Bainbridge has already paid the FPA costs and expenses related to the matter.

All members of the FPA agree to be bound by the FPA Code, which includes the Code of Ethics.

In response to the CRC determinations, Dante De Gori CFP®, CEO of the FPA says, “All FPA members regardless of tenure, seniority or profile are required to uphold the highest ethical standards within the financial planning profession, with no exceptions. The FPA is committed to standing with Australians for a better financial future and enforcement of the FPA Code is a critical aspect of that commitment.”

Determinations are always published on the FPA website. FPA members are encouraged to read the FPA CRC determinations to understand how the FPA Code is applied in day-to-day practice.

The CRC panel, which hears FPA disciplinary matters, is made up of experienced members of the financial planning profession. Its chair is former presidential member of the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Mr Graham McDonald.

Reports of suspected misconduct in financial planning by any individual or organisation can be made via any of the following channels:

  • Make an anonymous complaint via the FPA Confidential reporting service (run independently by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu).
  • Lodge a written complaint via this form on the FPA website.
  • Contact the FPA Professional Standards team on 1300 626 393 or by email at [email protected]