The Financial Markets Authority has issued a public warning about Brian Ferguson, a registered financial adviser from Palmerston North.
The FMA says that following an investigation, it is satisfied that Mr Ferguson copied and pasted client signatures in insurance policy documents. These policy documents were between third party insurers and clients advised by Mr Ferguson. The FMA 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.
"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 says it accepts that Mr 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," says FMA Director of Regulation Liam Mason.
"This warning is being made public to deter both Mr Ferguson and others in the market from engaging in similar misconduct.”
The FMA says the misconduct occurred between approximately October 2016 and April 2018, when Mr Ferguson was employed and/or contracted by Preferred NZ Limited. The matter was referred to the FMA by Preferred NZ.