New Zealand FMA charges false financial adviser with fraud

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Garry James Patterson has been sentenced to 200 hours’ community work and 3 months’ community detention at the Christchurch District Court after pleading guilty to two charges brought by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

Mr Patterson, 63, who is originally from Queenstown but has also been based in Christchurch, held out he was in the business of providing financial services without being registered to do so or a member of an approved dispute resolution scheme.

He also obstructed the FMA investigation into his conduct by refusing or failing to attend an interview without a reasonable excuse, as is required by statutory notice issued under section 25 of the FMA Act 2011. On this charge, Mr Patterson was convicted and discharged, due to his limited financial means.

Between 1 July 2013 and 28 May 2015 Mr Patterson held out to customers that he was entitled, qualified, able or willing to provide financial services in relation to various insurance policies. Customers who engaged with him about insurance policies during this time believed they were dealing with a registered financial adviser. The FMA investigated Mr Patterson’s conduct after receiving a complaint.

Her Honour Judge Farish noted that Mr Patterson had a degree of knowledge in relation to his offending and that by holding out he was a registered financial adviser he was offending against both individuals and the financial markets as a whole, and undermining investor confidence in the financial markets.

Karen Chang, FMA Head of Enforcement, said:

Mr Patterson was not registered, which meant customers did not have the protections they should have had, such as access to an independent dispute resolution scheme. These protections are important as insurance products can be complex and people go to financial advisers to help them to get the appropriate product.

Mr Patterson also failed to comply with a statutory notice to attend an interview. Compliance with these notices is a legal requirement. It is not optional. The FMA’s information gathering powers, including conducting interviews, are vitally important for the performance of the FMA’s functions and in particular, the investigation of potential breaches of the law. In the appropriate circumstances, such as in this case, we will bring criminal charges for non-compliance.

The FMA has also issued a public warning to Jonathan Simon Antony Branton-Casey, in relation to his involvement in Mr Patterson’s offending. Mr Branton-Casey facilitated Mr Patterson’s offending, and in doing so failed to exercise the care, diligence and skill expected of a reasonable financial adviser.

Mr Branton-Casey has voluntarily de-registered as a registered financial adviser, and co-operated with the FMA in its investigation of these matters and the prosecution of Mr Patterson. In these circumstances the FMA is satisfied that the public interest supports a public warning rather than court action.


Mr Patterson pleaded guilty to the following two charges:

  • Holding out that he was in the business of providing financial services when not registered – section 12 of the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008; and
  • Obstructing the FMA’s investigation into his conduct – Section 61 of the Financial Markets Authority Act 2011.

Mr Patterson has previous convictions in relation to insurance matters under the Crimes Act 1961, and he was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment in November 2006.

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