A property spruiker’s attempt to appeal a decision that found it had provided unlawful advice has been unanimously dismissed by the full bench of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The group—Park Trent Properties Group Pty Ltd—was ordered to pay ASIC’s costs.

Park Trent was appealing the judgement acting Justice Ronald Sackville had handed down in October last year, which ruled that the group has been unlawfully carrying on a financial services business for more than five years. Park Trent allegedly advised clients to purchase investment properties through a self-managed super fund (SMSF).

When handing down his original judgement last year, Justice Sackville observed that Park Trent’s business model was highly dependent 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.” Many suffered significant financial losses as a result.

In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Mark Leeming on November 3, the court found that no error had been made by the trial judge in refusing an application by Park Trent to amend its defence on the sixth day of the nine-day trial.

Even if the requested amendment had been permitted, the regulation on which Park Trent sought to rely on would not have applied to the advice of Park Trent, which was the subject of the proceedings.

ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said the governing body favoured the dismissal of the appeal. “ASIC’s action against Park Trent has highlighted there are serious consequences for property spruikers who break the law by providing unlicensed financial product advice,” he said.

ASIC originally launched legal proceedings against Park Trent in November 2014. By the time the case went to trial in June 2015, Park Trent had advised more than 860 members of the public to establish and switch funds into an SMSF.

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NSW Supreme Court Bans Spruiker From Providing Unlicensed SMSF Advice