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ASIC permanently bans SMSF adviser

ASIC ban SMSF adviser

A former SMSF adviser has been given a permanent ban by ASIC from having any involvement in financial services after being found guilty of fraud offences.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has given a permanent ban to a former Adelaide SMSF adviser from having any involvement in financial services and credit activities.

ASIC proceeded with banning orders against James Gibbs after he was sentenced last year to 10 years’ imprisonment for fraud offences with a non-parole period of seven years, following an ASIC investigation into his conduct during his time as a director of James Gibbs Investments.

“This is the first banning imposed by ASIC utilising the recent extensions to ASIC’s banning powers that came into effect on 18 February 2020 as a result of the “Stronger Regulators Act”,” ASIC said.

“The amendments allow ASIC to now ban people from having any involvement in a financial services or credit business. Previously the ban only extended to providing financial services or engaging in credit activities. Failure to comply with a banning is a criminal offence.”

Gibbs had pleaded guilty to theft and dishonesty charges after an ASIC investigation found he had stolen $4.88 million from his financial advice and SMSF clients and used the funds to finance his own business, pay off his credit card debt and for gambling purposes,

The illegal activity took place between August 2009 and July 2016. During that time, Gibbs had also created false bank documents and member statements with incorrect investment return information to hide his theft.

At the time of his conviction, ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said: “Clients need to be able to trust their financial advisers and, in this case, Mr Gibbs breached that trust.”

“ASIC’s investigation revealed that Mr Gibbs deliberately withheld information from clients to avoid detection. Financial advisers should always allow clients to access information about their own investments and clients should be concerned if this is not occurring.”

Gibbs has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

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