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Australian financial regulator ASIC has announced that it has banned Sean Nofal from providing financial services for three years.
ASIC found that on two occasions Mr Nofal’s conduct fell far short of the standard that would reasonably be expected of a competent financial services provider.
ASIC also found that Mr Nofal did not have sufficient judgment or skill to meet the demands of a position with the duties and responsibilities of a responsible executive, or the level of competence required for roles in the financial services industry. His conduct had the potential to contravene the financial services laws and accordingly, ASIC had reason to believe that Mr Nofal was likely to contravene a financial services law in the future.
ASIC further found that Mr Nofal was aware that between early 2011 and January 2012 and in July 2013, two clients of State One were conducting trading that was suspicious. During this time, he had detailed telephone conversations with the clients about their trading, alerted them to enquiries made by ASIC in relation to their trading and advised them what to say if questioned by ASIC, in an apparent attempt to avoid further scrutiny. Mr Nofal failed to take appropriate action in response to these matter and specifically, he did not report his conversations with the clients to his compliance colleagues, or anyone else, at the time. ASIC did not accept that Mr Nofal did not have a specific compliance role or that it was not his responsibility to consider or report these matters.
ASIC did not consider Mr Nofal’s conduct to be dishonest or deliberate. However, his behaviour demonstrated extremely poor judgment.
Mr Nofal has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.
Mr Nofal was employed by State One Stockbroking Limited between 2006 and 2015 and was appointed a responsible executive in 2010.
Mr Nofal’s role and responsibilities consisted mainly of assisting clients with technical issues about their accounts. He did not give advice to clients and was not directly involved with compliance issues, monitoring trading or using surveillance software at the time. He did however have access to systems on which he could observe clients’ trading.
Mr Nofal has not worked in the finance industry since 2015.