ASIC begins proceedings against ex-adviser

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken action against Refocus Financial Group and a former financial adviser for using SMSF client funds for his personal use.

ASIC has begun proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland against Brett Andrew Gordon and Sunshine Coast financial planning business Refocus, Gordon’s partner, Heather Jean Swift, and Consultia Super, of which Swift is the sole director.

Gordon and Refocus were authorised representatives of Solar Financial Advisory between 28 June 2014 and 26 August 2017. During that period, ASIC alleged Gordon recommended clients establish SMSFs and then advance unsecured loans to a related company, Diverse Capital Management, to undertake property development.

Diverse was placed into liquidation on 18 May.

Following an investigation, ASIC alleged at least 10 clients loaned $1.4 million to Diverse on Gordon’s recommendation. Those funds remain outstanding. ASIC also alleged Gordon used funds that had been loaned to Diverse for his personal use and as working capital for Refocus.

The corporate watchdog further alleged Swift received funds from Diverse, which were applied for her personal use, and Gordon and Refocus entered into other unsecured loan agreements to borrow funds from Refocus SMSF clients, who have not yet been repaid.

It also alleged Gordon has continued to provide financial services despite not being licensed to do so.

ASIC is seeking orders to appoint a provisional liquidator to Refocus and Consultia, prevent Gordon and Swift from dealing with their assets and restrain Gordon from providing financial services.

The matter will be heard in the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane on 11 July. ASIC’s investigation is continuing.

Solar terminated Gordon and Refocus as authorised representatives after becoming aware of Gordon’s conduct, and reported it to ASIC.

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