auditor

ASIC bans Queensland financial adviser

ASIC bans Queensland financial adviser

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission on Thursday said that Ian Victor Haisman of Beenleigh had been providing templated advice not tailored to his clients' individual circumstances, needs and financial goals.

Gold Coast director and property developer sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment

Gold Coast director and property developer sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment

“Owing investors approximately $9 million (17-246MR). Many of the investors were pensioners and were approached by telemarketing or word of mouth. Investors were convinced to borrow against their homes and were told that their money would be used to develop property in Tasmania. Instead, the money paid by investors was used to pay back interest owed to other investors, payments to employees, cash withdrawals and transfers to personal bank accounts.”

ASIC starts investigating hundreds of SMSFs

Self Managed Super Funds

The corporate regulator has launched a major investigation into hundreds of funds in a bid to uncover unlicensed SMSF advice.

As reported by ifa sister publication SMSF Adviser earlier this year, ASIC is currently conducting a major shadow shopping exercise, and has now started contacting various SMSF professionals to collate data on the set-up process of hundreds of funds, as part of a massive research project set for release later this year.

 

In emails seen by SMSF Adviser, it is clear ASIC has selected several hundred funds that were set up in September 2016 for random investigation, and is contacting tax agents associated with the funds.

ASIC is asking if the clients of the tax agents received any professional advice about establishing their SMSF and, if so, that the contact details are passed on.

While ASIC is gathering details about both financial advisers and accountants as part of this project, it is understood that broadly, unlicensed accountants in particular are on the regulatory radar.

The information supplied to ASIC is treated as anonymous, but the general findings will be published in a report slated for the second half of this year, an ASIC spokesperson told SMSF Adviser.

ASIC could not outline any further details of the investigation, except to confirm that it is pursuing its “major” shadow shop as announced in February, and will be looking at random samples of SMSF advice.

Despite being relatively lax in the past to instances of accountants operating outside of the accountants’ exemption in particular, BDO’s national leader for superannuation Shirley Schaefer suggested ASIC will be taking no prisoners this time around.

“I suspect a lot of accountants have sat outside the accountants’ exemption for years, and ASIC never did anything about it in the past,” Ms Schaefer told SMSF Adviser.

She acknowledged that many accountants do not agree that the SMSF services they are providing fall into the financial advice category, an argument that is largely irrelevant in 2017.

“This is not just tax advice. I certainly believe [SMSFs are] a structure not a product, but that argument is gone. There’s no point having that one again. We’ve been there and it’s gone,” Ms Schaefer said.

 

Article from: Independent Financial Advisor 

KATARINA TAURIAN- Wednesday, 29 March 2017

16-363MR ASIC disqualifies SMSF auditor

ASIC has disqualified Pierre Jarjoura of New South Wales from being an approved self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) auditor. ASIC determined that Mr Jarjoura had breached independence and audit requirements and was not a fit and proper person to be an approved SMSF auditor. 

ASIC found that Mr Jarjoura had breached: 

  • Auditor independence requirements of APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, where he audited a fund of which he was a member and the trustee.  
  • Requirements of Australian auditing standards to adopt appropriate procedures for properly maintaining audit documentation. 

ASIC Commissioner John Price said, ‘SMSF auditors play a fundamental role in promoting confidence in the SMSF sector so it is crucial that they adhere to ethical and professional standards. ASIC will continue to take action where the conduct of SMSF auditors is inadequate.’ 

SMSF trustees and members can check whether their auditor is registered, or whether a person has been disqualified, by searching ASIC's SMSF auditor register at connectonline.asic.gov.au. 

Background 

Information about Mr Jarjoura was referred to ASIC by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) under section 128P of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (the SIS Act). 

From 1 July 2013, the SIS Act required all auditors of SMSFs to be registered with ASIC. This was to ensure that all SMSF auditors meet the base standards of competency and expertise. 

ASIC and the ATO work closely together as co-regulators of SMSF auditors. The ATO monitors SMSF auditor conduct and may refer matters to ASIC for possible action such as disqualification or suspension of their registration. 

16-357MR Federal Court declares 21st Century land banking schemes to be unlawful and bans Jamie and Dennis McIntyre for 10 years

The Federal Court has declared that land banking developments operated by Jamie and Dennis McIntyre were unregistered managed investment schemes in a decision delivered by His Honour Justice Bromwich on 17 October 2016. 

The Court also made orders that Jamie and Dennis McIntyre be disqualified from managing corporations and restrained from carrying on financial services for a period of 10 years each, due to them being officers of companies that had failed, by virtue of them being wound up, and which had also repeatedly contravened the Corporations Act .

Jamie and Dennis McIntyre agreed to the banning orders made against them.

Further, the Court made orders to wind up the unregistered managed investment schemes, which were promoted and advertised by the 21stCentury land banking companies*.

The unregistered managed investment schemes are known as:

  • Botanica, located at 805 Archer Rd, Kialla, Victoria 3631
  • Secret Valley Estate, located at955, Old Sydney Road, Bylands, Victoria 3762
  • Oak Valley Lakes Estate & Resort, located at 124 Booth Road, Brookhill, Townsville, Qld 4816
  • Bendigo Vineyard Estate & Resort, located at51 Andrews Road, Bendigo, Victoria 3551
  • Melbourne Grove Estate, located at1491 Dohertys Road, Mount Cottrell, Victoria 3024

Simon Wallace-Smith and Robert Woods of Deloitte have been appointed as joint liquidators of the unregistered managed investment schemes.

ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, "The high banning periods ordered by the Court in this case are necessary to protect the public from those who are officers of companies that repeatedly contravene the Corporations Act.  It also serves as a warning to those involved in unlawful unregistered managed investment schemes, including those that involve land banking, that ASIC will take action."

ASIC's investigation into the matter is ongoing.

Background

ASIC commenced proceedings in August 2015 against Jamie and Dennis McIntyre and the 21st Century land banking companies in relation to their promotion and sale of interests to investors in five land banking schemes (Refer: 15-214MR).

ASIC’s proceedings are part of ASIC's wider and ongoing investigation into land banking schemes.

More information about ASIC's proceedings, including frequently asked questions

*Jamie McIntyre refers to his companies as the "21st Century Group". 21st Century Group Pty Ltd (ACN 108 150 545) is not a defendant to the proceeding, and ASIC is not aware of any connection between 21st Century Group Pty Ltd and the defendants.

16-323MR ASIC bans former Westpac financial adviser

ASIC has banned Adelaide financial adviser Michael Mahoney from providing financial services for a period of four years.

Mr Mahoney was employed by the BT Financial Group Pty Ltd (BTFG) in the Westpac Scaled Advice Insurance business from October 2013 to July 2014 to provide general advice only to retail clients on insurance products.

ASIC's investigation found that during the period Mr Mahoney was employed at BTFG, he engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive. Specifically, he entered false information regarding various clients' health or health-risk factors in telephone applications for insurance policies issued by Westpac Life Insurance Services Ltd (WLIS). This resulted in WLIS issuing policies to clients based on false information and assuming greater risks without having an opportunity to undertake an assessment of those risks.

WLIS has agreed to honour the affected client policies.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'This outcome shows that ASIC expects employees who are providing financial services to maintain high standards and not engage in conduct that is misleading and deceptive.'

Mr Mahoney has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.

Background

This outcome is a result of ASIC's Wealth Management Project. The Wealth Management Project was established in October 2014 with the objective of lifting standards by major financial advice providers. The Wealth Management Project focuses on the conduct of the largest financial advice firms (NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, AMP and Macquarie).

ASIC's work in the Wealth Management Project covers a number of areas including:

  1. working with the largest financial advice firms to address the identification and remediation of non-compliant advice;
  2. seeking regulatory outcomes when appropriate against Licensees and advisers.

As part of its Wealth Management Project, ASIC has banned the following advisers from the financial services industry, in addition to Mr Mahoney:

16-320MR AAT affirms ASIC decision to disqualify SMSF auditor

 

On 9 September 2016, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) upheld ASIC's decision to disqualify Mr Abe Samuel from being an approved self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) auditor.  

The AAT found that Mr Samuel "plainly breached the auditor independence requirements in APES 110 (Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants). As a consequence, he contravened his professional obligations under s128F of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993."

The AAT was satisfied that Mr Samuel "failed to carry out or perform adequately and properly the duties of an auditor under the Act or the Regulations or as otherwise required by law; and, furthermore or alternatively, the Applicant (Mr Samuel) is not a fit and proper person to be an approved SMSF auditor for the purposes of the Act."

The AAT stated that it upheld ASIC's decision due to "the very serious and fundamental nature of the applicant’s (Mr Samuel's) deficiencies; his longstanding and ongoing failure to understand properly those deficiencies; and the clear need to uphold the integrity of the SMSF system."

ASIC Commissioner John Price noted the AAT finding, saying: "To safeguard the SMSF sector, ASIC will continue to use its power to disqualify approved SMSF auditors that don’t perform their role adequately and meet professional standards."

SMSF trustees and members can check whether their auditor is registered, or whether a person has been disqualified, by searching ASIC's SMSF auditor register at connectonline.asic.gov.au.

Background  

Information about Mr Samuel was referred to ASIC by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

On 7 October 2015, ASIC made an order disqualifying Mr Samuel from being an approved SMSF auditor. Mr Samuel requested that ASIC reconsider the disqualification decision. On 23 November 2015, a delegate of ASIC confirmed the decision.

ASIC found that Mr Samuel had breached auditor independence requirements of APES 110 where he was:

  • a member of a fund he audited and also the director of its corporate trustee; and
  • the power of attorney holder for, and a relative of, a member of a fund he audited.

On 18 December 2015, Mr Samuel applied to the AAT for a review of the disqualification decision.

From 1 July 2013, the SIS Act required all auditors of SMSFs to be registered with ASIC. This was to ensure that all SMSF auditors at least meet the base standards of competency and expertise.

ASIC and the ATO work closely together as co-regulators of SMSF auditors. The ATO monitors SMSF auditor conduct and may refer matters to ASIC for possible action such as disqualification or suspension of their registration.

See also 15-362MR ASIC disqualifies Abe Samuel as SMSF auditor.