The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) has banned the head of a Wollongong
based property advice firm from providing financial services for four years.
The regulator today announced that it has banned Park Trent Properties Group Pty Ltd chief executive officer and director Ronald Malcolm Cross from providing financial services after an investigation into Park Trent’s operations.
In November 2014, ASIC launched legal proceedings against Park Trent over advice the company had given to clients encouraging them to establish self-managed super fund
The trial of Park Trent in the Supreme Court of NSW began in June 2015, by which time Park Trent had advised over 860 members of the public to establish and switch funds into an SMSF.
On 27 November 2015, the Supreme Court found that Park Trent had unlawfully carried on an unlicensed financial services business for over five years by advising clients to purchase investment properties through a self-managed super fund (SMSF).
The Court also permanently restrained Park Trent from providing unlicensed financial product advice to clients regarding SMSF.
ASIC levied its ban on Cross following those rulings, claiming that as the key decision maker of Park Trent he was knowingly involved in Park Trent's contraventions, making all of its major strategic and business decisions and intended to influence clients to purchase properties through SMSFs.
ASIC also claims Cross was willing to ignore legal advice and warnings about Park Trent's practices, which demonstrates he is likely to contravene financial services laws.
“ASIC's action against Mr Cross shows that we will not hesitate to exclude property spruikers who provide unlicensed financial services from the industry,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said.
Cross has the right to appeal the ASIC decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Park Trent is currently appealing the Supreme Court ruling from 27 November 2015 in the NSW Court of Appeal.
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