Economy

Suncorp’s Guardian Advice accused of “deficiencies” in financial advice; Building approvals continue to rise: Midday roundup

Kirsten Robb /

Suncorp-owned Guardian Advice has been accused by the corporate watchdog of not complying with its obligations as an Australian financial service licensee, including a failure to properly supervise its authorised representatives.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has imposed licence conditions on the firm after it uncovered “deficiencies” in the advice it provided to its retail clients.

Under the conditions, Guardian Advice must appoint an ASIC-approved independent consultant, who will report to ASIC for two years, to review its compliance with its general licensee obligations and develop a plan to rectify any deficiencies identified by the expert.

“The weaknesses in Guardian Advice’s systems and controls show that there was an ongoing risk that unsuitable advice could be provided by Guardian Advice and its authorised representatives,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said in a statement.

Building approvals continue to rise

The number of dwellings approved across Australia rose in November 2014, according to figures released this morning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, continuing a six month upwards trend.

Approvals rose 7.5% to 18,245 in November compared to October when seasonally adjusted, increasing across all states and territories.

The result have beaten the forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg during November, who predicted a 3% fall in building approvals, according to Business Spectator.

Around 8,700 apartments were approved in November, increasing by 16.7% from October, while house approvals fell by 0.3%. 

Shares up on open

Aussie shares have traded higher this morning, following gains on Wall Street overnight.

Michael McCarthy, CMC Markets chief market strategist, said in a statement European and US stocks rallied yesterday thanks to a “slight” improvement in investor sentiment.

“Neutral to stronger data was enough to reverse market direction due to the savagery of selling in the previous trading sessions,” he said.

“In classic ‘risk on’ trading, bonds and gold fell as shares rallied. Industrial commodities are the missing piece of the puzzle.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 23.7 points to 5377.3 points at 12.21pm AEDT. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed 212.88 points, up 1.23% to 17584.5 points.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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