ASIC, Compliance, SMSF

ASIC takes action on SMSF advice

ASIC SMSF rollover

ASIC has penalised two individuals for acting against their clients' best interests when persuading them to transfer their superannuation funds into SMSFs.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken action against two individuals for allegedly providing dishonest advice when encouraging clients to rollover their existing superannuation funds into an SMSF.

In the first instance, the regulator banned Brisbane-based financial adviser Stephen Garry Vick for five years from providing financial services due to the provision of defective advice statements, conflicts of interest in his business structure and acceptance of conflicted remuneration.

Following surveillance of his clients’ files during his time as an authorised representative of Madison Financial Group from 2012 to 2020, ASIC found Vick to have failed to act in the best interests of his clients when recommending the rollover of superannuation funds to a newly-established SMSF and borrowing to invest in residential property.

The ban came into effect on 5 September 2022, and Vick subsequently applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of ASIC’s decision, along with stay and confidentiality orders.

However, the AAT denied his applications for stay and confidentiality orders on 17 May and as a result his ban is officially recorded on both ASIC’s Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified Register.

In a separate matter, Ashley Vincent Arandez, of Broadbeach, Queensland, has been arrested and charged with three counts of dishonest conduct, eight counts of dealing with proceeds of crime and one count of carrying on a financial services business without holding an Australian financial services licence.

An ASIC investigation found that between September 2017 and April 2021, Arandez allegedly deceived clients by promoting and operating a financial services business, advising them to transfer their superannuation funds into SMSFs and invest in business ventures he controlled, and dishonestly misrepresenting the nature of the investments.

After his arrest on 6 June, Arandez attended a filing hearing and was granted bail, with a scheduled appearance at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 29 August for a committal mention.

The action taken by the regulatory body comes after almost 30 SMSF auditors were recently deregistered for failing to lodge annual statements.

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