ASIC bans Foster Stockbroking director for 3 years

Foster Stockbroking IPO conflict

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today issued a statement banning Mark Joseph Hinsley from working in the financial services industry for a period of three years.

This is the second ban issued by the Australian regulator this week.

Hinsley was a director at Foster Stockbroking Pty Ltd (FSB) where he headed the investment banking division and was directly tasked with providing corporate advisory services to Reffind Ltd (RFN), a technology company in the small cap category, during its initial Public Offering (IPO) in July 2015.

The ASIC investigated Hinsley’s conduct in regards to the distribution of shares during RFN’s IPO and his role in the publication of research report on RFN by FSB on 25 September 2015, which he authored.

FSB is a Sidney-based investment firm with a financial services license that allows it to provide traditional stockbroking, investment banking including research services to its customers. FSB was the sole underwriter of RFN shares during its IPO, which was massively over-subscribed.

According to the ASIC investigation:

  • Hinsley’s conduct was misleading and deceptive violating s1041H(1) of the Corporations Act as he failed to reveal to RFN that a huge chunk of their IPO shares were reserved for nominee accounts held by FSB directors including Hinsley.
  • The research report on RFN, which was authored by Hinsley had misleading assumptions that were based on unreasonable ground, which contravened the s1041H(1) of the Corporations Act.
  • Hinley’s involvement with FSB contradicted his overall obligations set out in his financial services license to act in a fair manner and make necessary plans to avoid the conflict of interest that arose from him authoring the research report on RFN.
Cathie Armour

Cathie Armour, ASIC

Cathie Armour, an ASIC Commissioner commented that:

Licensees, their officers and employees who are appointed to manage equity raising transactions must act appropriately, comply with the law and ensure that the services provided are done so in an efficient, honest and fair manner.

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