The New South Wales Local Court has convicted former Henderson Maxwell chief executive, director and senior financial adviser Sam Henderson of issuing defective disclosure documents and dishonest conduct under the Corporations Act.
The finding will see Henderson enter into a two-year recognisance bond and fined $7000 for issuing defective disclosure documents and a further $3000 for dishonest conduct.
In August, Henderson pleaded guilty to one rolled-up dishonest conduct charge, constituting an offence under section 1041G of the Corporations Act 2001 and two counts of knowingly making a defective disclosure document available to a person contrary to section 952D(2)(a)(ii) of the Corporations Act.
Following allegations from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the court found Henderson had engaged in dishonest conduct between 1 July 2010 and November 2017 by making false representations he held a Master of Commerce qualification.
Specifically, ASIC alleged he breached the law on two occasions in 2014 and 2016 when he issued a financial services guide to clients representing he held a Master of Commerce degree.
The regulator alleged further misrepresentations were made with respect to holding the qualification in some of Henderson’s professional biographies and descriptions, during an interview conducted for marketing material to promote Western Sydney University’s Sydney Graduate School of Management Master of Commerce (Financial Planning) course, and in his 2013 book, One-Page Financial Plan: Everything you need to successfully manage your money and invest for wealth creation.
A 25 per cent discount was applied to the sentence due to Henderson’s earlier guilty plea.
In handing down her decision, Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson pointed out the need for the court to send a message to the community that being a financial adviser is a specialist position. In addition, Atkinson stressed the importance for marketing material to contain correct information.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions was responsible for prosecuting the case.