If you have been affected, help is available.
ASIC has banned Michael Wilkins, of Watanobbi, NSW, from engaging in credit activities for three years.
Mr Wilkins was a mortgage broker and helped clients to arrange finance to purchase properties. ASIC found that on five occasions in June and July 2010, Mr Wilkins submitted loan applications on behalf of clients in which he deliberately overstated their savings by between about $130,000 and $179,000.
By submitting these loan applications, ASIC found that Mr Wilkins gave to the bank information or a document that was false or misleading.
Mr Wilkins has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
Mr Wilkins' banning arises from ASIC's ongoing investigation into a group of companies and people known as ‘the Heritage Group’. The Heritage Group advised its clients to set up self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) and buy property with their superannuation.
In the course of its investigation into the Heritage Group, ASIC also achieved the following outcomes:
- permanently banning Mr John Dimitropoulos from providing financial services or engaging in credit activity (refer: 17-322MR). Mr Dimitropoulos appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The review is yet to be heard;
- cancelling the credit licence of a company formerly called Heritage Financial Solutions Australia Pty Ltd and Heritage – Freedom & Security Pty Ltd (refer: 15-102MR);
- cancelling the credit licence of a company formerly called Sunpac Finance Pty Ltd on its own application;
- cancelling the credit licence of Smithson & Baye Pty Ltd. This cancellation is currently subject to a decision on appeal to the AAT (refer: 15-228MR).
ASIC has concerns about the way The Heritage Group structured the loans and property ownership within its clients SMSFs.
Investors who obtained advice or finance from people associated with this group should contact their lender and if necessary, obtain independent professional advice to ensure that the loans to their SMSFs and their property ownership have been structured in compliance with the trustees' superannuation law obligations.
ASIC's MoneySmart website has information for consumers about setting up a SMSF to invest in property. MoneySmart also has guidance for consumers on what to do if their financial adviser has been banned.