The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) today announced that it had disqualified Mr Kingsley Clive Lamont, a former executive director and chairman of OAMPS Ltd, from being a trustee of any superannuation entity or a responsible officer of an investment manager or custodian of superannuation funds.
The action reflects APRA’s assessment that Mr Lamont ignored conflicts of interest and breached his fiduciary obligations in his role as a Director of the Steadfast Insurance Brokers Management Group. APRA concluded that he is therefore not suitable to play a key role in the management of superannuation funds.
The decision follows an investigation into Mr Lamont’s resignation from the OAMPS Board to comply with consent orders made by the Victorian Supreme Court that prohibit him from certain company directorships for the three years to July 2004.
APRA found that Mr Lamont negotiated with Mr Rodney Adler, the then Chief Executive of FAI Insurances (FAI), for the insurer to provide a loan to Mr Lamont's private company for the purpose of purchasing OAMPS shares owned by FAI.
APRA concludes that in Mr Lamont’s negotiations with Mr Adler, it was agreed that the interest payments on the loan should be tied to the volume of insurance business generated for FAI by the insurance brokers, who were shareholders of Steadfast. The arrangement was seen to have placed Mr Lamont’s private interests ahead of his fiduciary duties as a director of Steadfast.
There was no alleged wrongdoing by Steadfast, OAMPS, FAI or Mr Adler in the court proceedings.
APRA General Manager Enforcement, Dr Darryl Roberts, said the disqualification order was a timely reminder to industry that APRA will not tolerate inappropriate conduct.
"APRA intends to take strong action against individuals who are considered not to be ‘fit and proper’ as a result of conflicts of interest, inside dealing or other unacceptable behaviour," he said.
Dr Roberts added: "Directors, managers and custodians have the control of significant amounts of tax-payers’ monies and extensive powers as to the investment and disposal of those monies. It is important, therefore that they be persons of the highest character".
APRA is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry including banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. It currently regulates $1.5 trillion in assets for 20 million Australians.