Business News

ASIC slaps ban on Charterhill director

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned Charterhill Group founder George Nowak from providing financial advice until 3 July 2017 as a result of his status as an undischarged bankrupt.

The corporate regulator’s punishment comes after it discovered as part of an ongoing investigation that Nowak had applied for personal bankruptcy in July 2014.

The banning order was made under section 920A(1)(bb) of the Corporations Act, which allows ASIC to impose a ban on an individual who becomes insolvent under administration.

Subsequent to the ban, Nowak has the right to take his case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the regulator’s decision.

The ban has no effect on the continuing nature of ASIC’s investigation into Charterhill’s activities, where it provided advice to clients on SMSF establishments, rollover of existing funds into SMSFs and the purchase of properties within SMSFs.

In other compliance news, ASIC imposed a $10,200 penalty on Australian Financial Planning Solutions (AFPS) for misleading representations in an article published on the organisation’s website.

ASIC said it had concerns over the article, entitled “Benefits of a self-managed super fund”, because it contained misleading and unsubstantiated claims retail and industry funds would face payout difficulties, and contained misrepresentations that some tax benefits were only available to SMSFs when in reality they were available to all superannuation funds.

“Consumers should be able to trust the information provided by financial firms when making decisions about their investments, including superannuation. ASIC will continue to take enforcement action where AFS (Australian financial services) licensees provide misleading information,” ASIC deputy commissioner Peter Kell said upon the handing down of the fine.

AFPS, a representative of licensee Charter Financial Planning, has paid the fine and taken the offending article off its website.

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