An insurance adviser who operated in the South Island has received his sentence at the Christchurch District Court, after he plead guilty to two charges brought by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) earlier this year (see: Adviser Pleads Guilty…)
Garry James Patterson, 63, was sentenced to 200 hours’ community work and 3 months’ community detention for falsely holding himself out as financial adviser, as he was unregistered and without membership of an approved dispute resolution scheme.
Between 1 July 2013 and 28 May 2015 Patterson held out to customers that he was entitled, qualified, able or willing to provide financial services in relation to various insurance policies. The FMA investigated Patterson’s conduct after receiving a complaint.
He was also charged with obstructing the FMA investigation into his conduct by refusing or failing to attend an interview without a reasonable excuse but the FMA stated, on this charge, Patterson was convicted and discharged, due to his limited financial means.
Patterson has previous convictions in relation to insurance matters under the Crimes Act 1961, and he was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment in November 2006.
Her Honour Judge Farish noted that Patterson had a degree of knowledge in relation to his offending and that by holding out he was a registered financial adviser he was offending against both individuals and the financial markets as a whole, and undermining investor confidence in the financial markets.
FMA Head of Enforcement, Karen Chang, said “Mr Patterson was not registered, which meant customers did not have the protections they should have had, such as access to an independent dispute resolution scheme.
“These protections are important as insurance products can be complex and people go to financial advisers to help them to get the appropriate product,” Chang added.
Former registered financial adviser, Jonathan Simon Antony Branton-Casey, also received a public warning from the FMA, in relation to his involvement in Patterson’s offending.
The FMA stated that Branton-Casey facilitated Patterson’s offending, and in doing so failed to exercise the care, diligence and skill expected of a reasonable financial adviser.
He has since voluntarily de-registered as a RFA and co-operated with the FMA in its investigation of these matters and the prosecution of Patterson. In these circumstances the FMA is satisfied that the public interest supports a public warning rather than court action.