Aggregated News From Investment Management Regulators

Australia

ASIC to extend deadlines for 30 June 2021 financial reports and amends ‘no action’ position for AGMs

ASIC will extend the deadline for both listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports (under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act 2001) by one month for balance dates from 23 June to 7 July 2021 (inclusive). The extended deadlines will assist with any pressures on resources for the audits of smaller entities and provide adequate time for the completion of the audit process taking into account challenges presented by COVID-19 conditions.  Factors that might affect audit firm resources could include restrictions on travel into Australia and increased staff turnover. While the extensions would be available for both listed...

Former finance broker pleads guilty and sentenced for fraud

On 23 April 2021, Mr Vaughn Thomas Hopkins appeared at the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to four charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to section 82(1) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). Following his guilty plea, Mr Hopkins was sentenced to a fine of $3,000 which was imposed without conviction. The charges followed an ASIC investigation into Mr Hopkins’ conduct between 2014 and 2015 while he was a finance broker at Combined Motor Traders, a Cranbourne used-car dealership. ASIC alleged that Mr Hopkins obtained car loans by submitting loan applications for four customers supported by false documents...

IOOF advice licensees to implement changes following ASIC surveillance

IOOF has committed to taking remedial action to address deficiencies identified as a result of an ASIC surveillance of two financial advice licensees: Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd (Bridges) and RI Advice Group Pty Ltd (RI Advice). In December 2020, ASIC completed a review of the licensees’ supervision and monitoring processes and the quality of advice their advisers provided to a sample of clients. ASIC found that 15% (Bridges) and 17% (RI Advice) of the client files reviewed contained indications of some potential client detriment. In response to ASIC’s findings, IOOF has agreed to develop and implement remedial action plans for Bridges...

Disqualification of former director of property development companies set aside by AAT

On 7 August 2020, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) set aside ASIC’s decision to disqualify Mr Kenneth Wen Hsi Lee from managing corporations in the matter of Lee and Australian Securities and Investments Commission AATA 2661 (7 August 2020). Read the Tribunal’s decision. The AAT determined that, even though the discretion to disqualify under 206F was enlivened, having weighed-up all the considerations the correct or preferable decision was that Mr Lee should not be denied the opportunity to be a director. Background Mr Lee was a former director of S.E.T Services Pty Ltd (SET) and Sydney Project Group Pty Ltd (SPG),...

ASIC consults on draft guidance on breach reporting reforms

ASIC has issued Consultation Paper 340, seeking stakeholder feedback on proposed updates to its draft guidance on upcoming breach reporting reforms. ASIC’s draft regulatory guide reflects reforms made to the breach reporting regime under the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Act 2020. These reforms clarify and strengthen the existing obligation on AFS licensees to self-report certain breaches of the law to ASIC and extend the obligation to credit licensees. Set to commence on 1 October 2021, these key Government reforms flow from the Financial Services Royal Commission and findings from the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce. Announcing the consultation, ASIC Deputy...

Former Victorian director charged with breaching directors’ duties

Rachel Edwards of Werribee, Victoria, has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court charged with four counts of breaching her directors’ duties. Ms Edwards was the former sole director of employment agency Westpower Victoria Pty Ltd ACN 135 293 873 (In Liquidation) (Westpower). ASIC alleges that between 15 January 2010 and 23 September 2011, Ms Edwards made 175 withdrawals totalling $619,897.71 from a bank account of Westpower and deposited the funds into a personal account. When Westpower went into liquidation on 5 January 2012, the company had debts totalling more than $930,000 owed to the Australian Taxation Office, State Revenue Office Victoria and...

Former Victorian financial adviser pleads guilty to obtaining financial advantage by deception

On 21 April 2021, Mr Ahmed Saad, of Glenroy, Victoria, pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception. Mr Saad was an authorised representative of Apogee Financial Planning Limited (Apogee) and operated a scheme providing illegal early access to superannuation funds for his clients while working at Apogee. This scheme involved Mr Saad submitting applications for one-off advice fees to NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited (Nulis), as trustee for the MLC Super Fund, supposedly for financial services that he claimed he had provided to clients. Mr Saad, however,...

Former Aon Hewitt financial adviser banned for four years

ASIC has banned Andrew Carl Hills, a former authorised representative of Aon Hewitt Financial Advice Limited, from providing financial services for four years. The banning follows an ASIC surveillance, which found that between 2014 and 2017, Mr Hills allowed or authorised misleading and inaccurate letters about superannuation to be issued to some Aon Master Trust members. ASIC found that in doing so, Mr Hills contravened section 1041H of the Corporations Act. ASIC found that: the letters contained incorrect information, including in relation to the past performance of Aon MySuper and the timing of when members would transition to MySuper; the letters omitted...

AAT dismisses challenge to ASIC’s banning of Rodney Charles Carter

Rodney Charles Carter, of Perth, Western Australia, has withdrawn his appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) of ASIC’s decision to disqualify him from managing companies for four years. The AAT subsequently dismissed the proceeding. Mr Carter previously challenged ASIC’s decision in the Federal Court in 2018 (18-214MR). He claimed the disqualification had not started because he had not been properly served with a disqualification order. Mr Carter’s application to the Federal Court was dismissed, as was his subsequent appeal to the Full Federal Court. Mr Carter’s withdrawal of the appeal affirms ASIC’s decision in July 2017 to disqualify him from managing...

ASIC secures 20-year ban for Mayfair 101 director James Mawhinney from fundraising and promoting investment products

The Federal Court has restrained Mayfair 101 director James Mawhinney from promoting and raising funds through financial products for 20 years following proceedings brought by ASIC on 7 August 2020. The Mayfair 101 Group offered investments in multiple financial products including M Core Fixed Income Notes (Core Notes), M+ Fixed Income Notes (M+ Notes), the IPO Wealth Fund, Australian Property Bonds and IPO Capital. The companies that offered the Core Notes and the IPO Wealth Fund are in liquidation and redemptions in the remaining products have been suspended since March 2020. Approximately $211 million is owing to Mayfair 101 Group...

ASIC enforcement update July to December 2020

ASIC has today released its enforcement update report for the period 1 July to 30 December 2020. A copy of the report - outlining key actions taken during the period to enforce the law and support ASIC’s enforcement objectives - can be found here. The July to December 2020 period saw civil penalties totalling $159.8 million imposed by the courts. This included ASIC’s two largest ever civil penalty outcomes – penalties totalling $57.5 million were imposed on two NAB subsidiaries for fees-for-no-service misconduct, and penalties totalling $75 million were imposed on OTC derivatives provider AGM Markets Pty Ltd and two of...

ASIC commences proceedings against credit licensee over failure to comply with AFCA determination

ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against credit assistance provider Lightspeed Finance Pty Ltd (Lightspeed) and its director Mark James Fitzpatrick for failing to comply with Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) determinations. On 4 December 2018, AFCA made its first determination regarding a Lightspeed client complaint. The determination required Lightspeed to pay a loan debt (including interest) owed by the client to a lender, prior to the client repaying Lightspeed the initial loan amount. On 12 July 2019, AFCA made a second determination in favour of the client, further reducing the client’s liability. Both determinations were accepted by...

Regulator Information

Abbreviation: ASIC
Jurisdiction: Australia

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