ASIC has banned Mr Ronald Malcom Cross, of Figtree, New South Wales, from providing financial services for a period of four years. Mr Cross is the CEO and a director of Park Trent Properties Group Pty Ltd (Park Trent).
On 27 November 2015, further to proceedings issued by ASIC, the Supreme Court of New South Wales found that Park Trent had unlawfully carried on an unlicensed financial services business for over five years by advising clients to purchase investment properties through a self-managed super fund (SMSF).
The Court also permanently restrained Park Trent from providing unlicensed financial product advice to clients regarding SMSFs.
ASIC found that, as the key decision maker of Park Trent, Mr Cross:
- was knowingly involved in Park Trent's contraventions, making all of its major strategic and business decisions and intended to influence clients to purchase properties through SMSFs; and
- that Mr Cross was willing to ignore legal advice and warnings about Park Trent's practices, demonstrating that he is likely to contravene financial services laws.
ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'ASIC's action against Mr Cross shows that we will not hesitate to exclude property spruikers who provide unlicensed financial services from the industry.'
Mr Cross has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
ASIC launched legal proceedings in November 2014 against Park Trent who, by the time of the trial in June 2015, had advised over 860 members of the public to establish and switch funds into an SMSF (refer: 14-299MR).
On 15 October 2015, the Supreme Court of NSW found Park Trent had been unlawfully carrying on a financial services business for over five years by providing advice to clients to purchase investment properties through a SMSF (refer: 15-300MR).
On 27 November 2015, the Supreme Court of NSW handed down final orders further to the judgment delivered against Park Trent on 15 October 2015 (refer: 15-358MR).
Park Trent has appealed the decision to the NSW Court of Appeal and the appeal is set down for a final hearing on 11 October 2016.
On 16 August 2016, Mr Cross made an application to the AAT for a review of ASIC's decision.
Editor's note 2:
On 20 September 2016, Deputy President Frost made a direction to adjourn the matter until the determination of the Park Trent appeal.