ASIC bans Nizi Bhandari and his ‘Australian Super Finder’ business

Rick Steves

Consumers were potentially exposed to harm – the regulator said – including loss of insurance held through superannuation, extra fees and ATO penalties for inappropriate access to superannuation. Mr. Bhandari and ADG can still appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

IG Group promotes Doug Picken to Head of High Value Business in Australia

ASIC has canceled the AFS license of The Australian Dealer Group Pty Ltd and permanently banned Mr. Nizi Bhandari from providing, controlling, or performing any function in relation to financial services or credit activities.

The Australian regulator took away the license after finding The Australian Dealer Group Pty Ltd (ADG) and its sole director Mr. Bhandari were acting dishonestly while assisting consumers to find and consolidate their superannuation and obtain hardship payments.

ADG operated a website called ‘Australian Super Finder’ through which a consumer could request a search for lost superannuation. ADG offered to consolidate a consumer’s ‘found’ superannuation. Although consolidation of superannuation accounts can benefit consumers, if not done appropriately it can lead to the loss of valuable insurance and payment of higher fees.

Mr. Bhandari even told consumers to make false statements to their superannuation fund trustees in order to gain early access to their superannuation balances. By engaging in this conduct, Mr. Bhandari and ADG were involved in multiple contraventions of financial services laws.

The financial watchdog has also canceled ADG’s AFS license, after finding that its business model was not designed to comply with its obligation to act efficiently, honestly, or fairly when providing financial services.

ASIC accuses ADG of having prioritized its own interests over the consumers’ interests; breached the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO’s) terms and conditions when conducting lost superannuation searches; acting without the consent or instruction of consumers; charged fees for superannuation consolidation on an ad hoc basis, without transparency, fairness or consistency; and
pressured consumers into signing Superannuation Consolidation Agreements over the phone, including by not providing time to read its terms and conditions prior to seeking agreement.

Consumers were potentially exposed to harm – the regulator said – including loss of insurance held through superannuation, extra fees, and ATO penalties for inappropriate access to superannuation. Mr. Bhandari and ADG can still appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

An ASIC license will cost you

The regulator has recently published the 2019-20 Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS), which provides regulated entities with details of ASIC’s forecast regulatory costs and activities by industry and subsector. The cost is then reflected in the price of ASIC licenses to operate in Australia.

Securities dealers cost $1.391 million, Over-the-counter (OTC) traders cost $9.661 million, and retail OTC derivatives issuers cost $10,384 million to regulate.

ASIC is currently supervising 1,030 securities dealers, 77 over-the-counter (OTC) traders, and 99 retail OTC derivatives issuers.

Securities dealers pay a minimum levy of $1,000 plus $2.71 per $1 million of annual transaction turnover. Over-the-counter (OTC traders pay a minimum levy of $1,000 plus $4,011 per FTE. OTC derivatives issuers pay a fixed amount of $108,084.

“ASIC is acutely aware of the challenges facing many businesses due to COVID-19 and is committed to working with regulated entities facing difficulties paying industry funding levies. ASIC will consider waivers due to the impact of COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis”, said the announcement.

  • Read this next


    Nuam selects Vermiculus for clearing system in Chile, Colombia, and Peru

    “We are proud to deliver a system that plays an integral role in the core of this historical merger, empowering one of Latin America’s most crucial markets with VeriClear’s state-of-the-art technology, together with our deep market expertise.”

    Retail FX, Uncategorized

    Moomoo launches super app in Malaysia

    “As an investment platform connecting 21 million retail investors globally, we envision collaborating with exchanges, regulatory bodies, and partners in the visible future to become the gateway, connecting Malaysia’s investment products to global capital and investors.”

    Executive Moves

    FXPA elects Joe Hoffman as new Chair in its 10th anniversary

    “The opportunity to serve as Chair of the FXPA is truly an honor, and I am committed to upholding the exceptional work of a FXPA. Given the recent market fluctuations due to global tensions, inflationary pressures, shifts in monetary policy, as well as the outcome of the US election and the risk of recession, brings the potential for more FX volatility in 2024. I am dedicated to expanding the FXPA’s membership and I’m excited about collaborating with all members to echo the unified voice of the FX market.”

    Market News

    Eurozone Fights Stagnation Whilst Stock Indices Rally

    European stock markets are defying economic gloom as they continue to soar to all-time highs, showcasing resilience amidst broader economic challenges.


    Lisk Partners with Indonesia’s Communications Ministry to Boost Web3 Startup Ecosystem

    Discover the strategic partnership between Lisk and the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Informatics, aimed at propelling local Web3 startups to new heights through comprehensive support and education.

    Executive Moves

    Admirals appoints founder Alexander Tsikhilov as CEO

    “Striking the right balance between sourcing new talent and developing and harnessing the strength and capabilities of our current workforce, is key to achieving our vision.”

    Executive Moves

    GCEX appoints Ignacio Corral and Helen Man to UK operation

    GCEX has announced the appointment of Ignacio Corral and Helen Man to its UK FCA-regulated operation based in London as the firm further expands its global business on account of increasing demand for its digital prime brokerage services.

    Retail FX, Uncategorized to shut down UK operation after eight months’s UK withdrawal reflects broader market dynamics, where increased competition among retail investing platforms, including newcomers like Robinhood and Webull, pressures companies to consolidate their efforts in their most profitable or strategic markets.

    Industry News

    UK FCA commits to swifter enforcement actions

    “Reducing and preventing serious harm is a cornerstone of our strategy. By delivering faster, targeted and transparent enforcement, we will reduce harm and deter others. We will also make greater use of our intervention powers to stop harm in real time.”