A NSW property spruiker has been found to have provided unlawful advice.
ASIC has announced that the Supreme Court of NSW found Park Trent Properties Group Pty Ltd had been unlawfully carrying on financial services business for more than five years by providing advice to clients to purchase properties through an SMSF. The court found that it was in the public interest that Park Trent be restrained from carrying on financial services business.
The decision comes after ASIC launched legal proceedings against Park Trent in November 2014. ASIC said by the time of trial in June 2015, Park Trent had advised more than 860 members of the public to establish and switch funds into an SMSF.
In his judgment, Honour Acting Justice Sackville said Park Trent's business model depended on "persuading relatively unsophisticated investors of the virtues of using their superannuation accounts to purchase investment properties and to establish SMSFs… Investors were influenced to make important decisions concerning their superannuation strategy with little or no genuine consideration of whether the decision took proper account of their individual financial circumstances. Some suffered financial loss as a consequence".
ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said the outcome showed that the courts and ASIC would not tolerate "unscrupulous behaviour".
"Property spruikers who recommend people invest in property via SMSFs, or facilitate such an investment, and who do not have an Australian financial services licence are breaking the law," Kell said.
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