The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned financial adviser Julie Hamilton from providing financial services for three years for failing to act in her clients' best interests.
Mr Yingjie Wang (also known as Jay Wang)
A Lawyer and accountant from Sydney NSW, has been permanently banned from providing financial Services
Since June 2011, Mr Wang has been involved in the management of at least 14 companies who hold, or held, an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence. These companies include:
- LSG Group Pty Ltd (ACN 154 582 242) (formerly known as NZ Global Financial Trading Pty Ltd and Easy Capital Global Pty Ltd);
- Eagle Aetos Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 150 010 736) (formerly known as GSM Financial Group); and
- Hodgson Faraday Ltd (ACN 130 606 987) (formerly known as TM Index).
ASIC found Mr Wang was dishonest in that he knowingly caused Easy Capital Global Pty Ltd to use $100,000 of an investor's money for unauthorised purposes. Mr Wang also remained silent about a representation made to this same investor concerning the money which he knew to be false.
When examined by ASIC, Mr Wang was not forthcoming about his dishonesty and ASIC therefore found that Mr Wang was not of good fame and character.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, 'ASIC will take action to remove dishonest persons from the financial services industry to protect the public.'
Mr Wang is seeking a review of ASIC's decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
ASIC has banned financial adviser, Mr Darren Tindall, of Orange, NSW, from providing financial services for five years after an investigation found he failed to comply with financial services laws.
Mr Tindall was an authorised representative of Roan Financial Group Pty Ltd between 9 May 2013 and 19 May 2014, and was based in Orange, NSW.
Mr Tindall was banned from providing financial services after ASIC found that he had:
- engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct on a client's behalf by failing to disclose their pre-existing medical conditions on an insurance application submitted to an insurer;
- engaged in dishonest conduct by not disclosing the medical conditions in transferring that insurance obtained to a new insurer; and
- recklessly made misleading comparisons about superannuation products to four clients, which induced those clients to switch their superannuation.
ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said, 'ASIC will take action against financial advisers who have been dishonest or who mislead their clients, in order to increase public confidence in the financial services industry.'
On 17 January 2017, Mr Tindall applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a stay of the banning and review of ASIC's decision. The stay application was heard on 27 January 2017. On 9 February 2017, the AAT refused the stay. The date for the hearing of review of ASIC's decision is yet to be set.
ASIC has permanently banned Queensland financial adviser Mr Stewart James Banks, from the Gold Coast, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activity.
Mr Banks was employed as a representative of Professional Investment Services (PIS) from 18 April 2007 until 20 May 2015.
ASIC found that during the period between September 2012 and April 2015, Mr Banks had acted dishonestly and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct under the Corporations Act, in that he:
- Created documents, invoices, and fee forms in relation to six clients which were false because he did not undertake the hours of work claimed and was not entitled to the fees charged;
- Told two clients that he was paid by the insurance product provider when in fact he drew fees directly from clients' superannuation;
- Provided false declarations to the trustee of the superannuation fund in order to access fees from six clients' superannuation accounts totalling $286,530.60; and
- Gave funds to clients from their superannuation, and unknown to his clients, kept a portion of the funds for himself.
ASIC also found that Mr Banks was not of good fame and character as his conduct was dishonest and involved the betrayal of client trust, as well as deceiving PIS and the trustee of the superannuation fund.
ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said, 'ASIC will take action to remove dishonest persons from the financial services and credit industry to protect the public.
'Mr Banks' conduct was particularly harmful in that his actions eroded his clients' superannuation, which exists for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to members, or to their dependents if a member dies before retirement.'
Mr Banks has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
ASIC has permanently banned former AFS licensee employee Mr Nicolai D'Lamartin, of Rosebery NSW, from providing financial services.
In 2014 Mr D'Lamartin was convicted of numerous counts of fraud and related offences under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), including impersonating persons and creating and using false documents to gain a financial advantage, larceny and using and possessing other people's identification information.
ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said: 'Banning unscrupulous operators like Mr D'Lamartin will ensure consumers can have trust and confidence in the financial services industry.'
Mr D'Lamartin's convictions came to ASIC's attention in the course of investigating the conduct of an AFSL holder in late 2015. He has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of ASIC’s decision.
On 27 February 2014 Mr D'Lamartin was convicted of the following:
- 3 charges of fraud under s192E(1)(a) of the Crimes Act whereby he impersonated another person to dishonestly obtain property belonging to another;
- 17 charges of fraud under s192E(1)(b) of the Crimes Act which included conduct where he impersonated another person to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage, or engaged in the unauthorised use of cheques, online bank accounts or credit cards to obtain a financial advantage;
- 2 charges of forgery under s253 of the Crimes Act whereby he falsified bank document and other documents in the names of others, with the intention of having someone else accept them as genuine;
- 1 charge of forgery under s254 of the Crimes Act whereby he used false documents to obtain bank cheques from bank accounts of others;
- 3 charges of larceny under s117 of the Crimes Act whereby he stole cash and property, including drivers licenses and credit cards, from others;
- 2 charges of dealing with identification information under s192J of the Crimes Act whereby he used identification information belonging to two people with the intention of committing fraud;
- 2 charges of possession of identification information under s192K of the Crimes Act whereby he possessed identification information such as drivers licences, credit cards and Medicare cards with the intention of committing fraud; and
- 1 charge of dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime under s193C of the Crimes Act.
Mr D'Lamartin was sentenced to an aggregate term of imprisonment of 3 years which commenced on 21 November 2012 with a non-parole period of 20 months.
Former financial adviser, Mr Darren John Wise, has been sentenced in the Maroochydore District Court to seven years imprisonment on charges brought by ASIC. Mr Wise will be eligible for parole after serving 20 months.
Mr Wise, formerly of Rhodes NSW, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count each of forgery, using forged documents and fraud.
The charges related to Mr Wise's conduct between 23 October 1997 and 10 March 2006, when, as a financial adviser at Kawana Waters in Queensland, he:
- created six applications for margin loans on which he forged eight of his clients' signatures, the effect of which was to represent that the clients had agreed to act as guarantors for the margin loans;
- used the false margin lending applications with the intention of fraudulently inducing the lender to provide him margin loans; and
- on 67 separate occasions gained a benefit for himself by fraudulently lodging securities owned by clients as collateral for the margin loans without the clients' authorisation.
Mr Wise dishonestly obtained a total of $1,070,700 under the margin loans as a result of his misapplication of client assets. Mr Wise used the money for his own purposes including trading in securities on the ASX for himself, paying for losses in other trading accounts he held, and paying off personal debts.
ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, 'Mr Wise repeatedly engaged in dishonest conduct, putting his own interests ahead of his clients. This type of conduct undermines trust and confidence in the financial advice industry and will not be tolerated by ASIC or the broader community. We will act to ensure financial advisers who act dishonestly are held to account for their actions'.
Mr Wise was sentenced on 14 November 2016.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter.
In February 2016, ASIC permanently banned Mr Wise from providing financial services (refer: 16-032MR).
ASIC has permanently banned a former Perth-based financial planner, Mr Tak Simson Kwok, from the financial services industry.
Mr Kwok was employed as a financial planner by HSBC Bank Australia Ltd (HSBC) from 29 September 2009 to 16 December 2013.
His responsibilities included providing financial advice to HSBC customers in respect of investments in HSBC-approved products (HSBC AP).
An ASIC investigation found that between April 2013 to December 2013, Mr Kwok engaged in not only misleading and deceptive but also dishonest conduct in relation to client funds and investments.
In particular, ASIC found that Mr Kwok:
- misled and deceived four individual clients into investing a total of $1,975,000 that they falsely believed had been placed into a HSBC AP
- misled and deceived a further two individual clients into investing or reinvesting a total of $2,295,000 into what the clients falsely believed was a HSBC AP Annuity investment
- engaged in conduct that was dishonest, including forging documents and signatures to disguise the fact that client money had not been invested into a HSBC AP; and
- misled and deceived HSBC into erroneously believing he was only providing recommendations to the clients about products on the HSBC AP list and in accordance with HSBC policies.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, 'ASIC will act to remove those financial advisers from the industry who engage in dishonest conduct'.
In permanently banning Mr Kwok, ASIC found reason to believe that he was not of good fame or character.
Mr Kwok has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
Mr Kwok is the 51st individual to be banned by ASIC from providing financial services since 1 July 2015, of which 26 have been permanently banned.
ASIC's investigation into Mr Kwok's conduct followed notification by HSBC.
As a result of Mr Kwok's conduct, HSBC initiated court actions resulting in full remediation to all of the affected clients.
Regulatory Guide 78 Breach reporting by AFS licensees (RG 78) provides guidance for financial services licensees on reporting breaches, or likely breaches, of their obligations under the financial services laws.
ASIC has banned Mr Christopher Young, a life insurance financial adviser, from providing financial services for a period of five years.
Mr Young was an authorised representative of Affinia Financial Advisers Pty Ltd (Affinia) in the period 12 June 2013 to 23 July 2015.
ASIC commenced surveillance on Mr Young in mid-2015, which included a review of a number of his client files from the time he was an authorised representative of Affinia.
As a result of the surveillance, ASIC found that Mr Young had failed to act in his clients' best interests when providing advice and that he had failed to comply with several financial services laws.
In particular, it was found that Mr Young failed to:
- provide sufficient detail in Statements of Advice to enable his clients to make informed decisions about his advice;
- keep proper records; and in some instances, he had created false or misleading client file notes;
- make reasonable enquires into clients' relevant objectives, financial situation and needs;
- determine if the amounts of insurance cover he recommended were appropriate and if premiums were affordable and payment could be maintained by clients;
- conduct a reasonable investigation into financial products that might achieve the objectives of the clients;
- provide the required information about his remuneration and other relevant interests when providing financial product advice; and
- demonstrate the ability, professional skills and knowledge required to competently provide financial services.
ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'Consumers should be confident that their financial adviser is acting in their best interests'.
'The business model of simply 'selling' life insurance without complying with the legal and regulatory obligations will not be tolerated by ASIC. Advisers who do so will be removed from the industry.'
ASIC's action was a response to information it received from the licensee, Affinia, regarding potential systemic concerns about advice provided by Mr Young in relation to insurance and superannuation products.
Following the identification of these concerns, and after Mr Young had ceased as a representative of Affinia in July 2015, Affinia reviewed all advice provided by Mr Young and implemented a remediation program for affected clients who had received advice from him.