Old Mutual debars 'top' financial advisor

Cape Town - Old Mutual [JSE:OML] has debarred a "top" financial advisor, because "he does not comply with personal character qualities of honesty and integrity".

Old Mutual confirmed the debarment of James Robert Stern ((FSB Licence number: 703) on Monday, after Fin24 queried a user tip-off that an "award winning" advisor was debarred.

The user alleges that Stern won Broker of the Year for four years in a row, between 2008 and 2011.

Old Mutual said Stern's debarment was related to some of his dealings with the financial services giant, while he was a representative of an independent brokerage and before he joined Old Mutual as a mandated agent in late 2012.

"In terms of our measurement methodology for independent brokers he was not one of the top producers in the three years before he was contracted as a mandated agent by Old Mutual," the company said.

Old Mutual listed the reason for debarment as Stern "not complying with personal character qualities of honesty and integrity".

"We found discrepancies in his paperwork in so far as he duplicated customer signatures and altered postal addresses to mislead customers and misrepresent facts to Old Mutual," the company said.  
 
Old Mutual said it was initially contacted by three of Stern’s customers.

"We initiated an investigation followed by a hearing. His mandate agreement with Old Mutual was terminated and we debarred him effective from November 26 2013," the company said.

"In addition to this we have initiated a process to scrutinize the rest of the business submitted by Stern while acting as our representative."

The Financial Services Board's website confirms Stern's debarment and also provides a list of all debarred financial advisors.

- Fin24

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