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SMSF property spruiker banned

A promoter of property purchasing strategies through an SMSF has been permanently banned from providing financial services and engaging in credit activity by the corporate regulator.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) imposed the ban on John Dimitropoulos, of Seven Hills in Sydney, for his involvement as sole director in the business dealings of Heritage Financial Solutions Australia and Sunpac Finance, which promoted property and SMSFs.

After an investigation into Dimitropoulos’s activities, ASIC found he had breached the financial services and credit laws between 1 July 2010 and mid-2013.

Specifically, he was deemed to have contravened the law by making false statements to ASIC about Sunpac’s compliance processes and procedures in the company’s annual compliance certificates, being involved in breaches of general credit licensee conduct obligations of Heritage and Sunpac, carrying on the Heritage financial services business without a licence, and engaging in conduct that displayed a fundamental lack of understanding and regard for compliance with the law.

Further justification for the permanent disqualification was the regulator’s opinion that Dimitropoulos was likely to contravene the financial services and credit laws again.

“Spruikers who recommend people invest in property via SMSFs, or facilitate such an investment, and who do not have an Australian financial services licence are breaking the law,” ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said.

“ASIC will act to protect the interests of investors, particularly in the growing SMSF sector, by permanently removing those whose conduct falls short of the required standards.”

ASIC handed down its decision on Dimitropoulos on 23 June.

On 27 June, he approached the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to have the decision reviewed and to seek a stay of the banning order and a confidentiality order.

Both applications were heard on 23 August and 19 September and subsequently dismissed.

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