ASIC has permanently banned Queensland financial adviser Mr Stewart James Banks, from the Gold Coast, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activity.
Mr Banks was employed as a representative of Professional Investment Services (PIS) from 18 April 2007 until 20 May 2015.
ASIC found that during the period between September 2012 and April 2015, Mr Banks had acted dishonestly and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct under the Corporations Act, in that he:
- Created documents, invoices, and fee forms in relation to six clients which were false because he did not undertake the hours of work claimed and was not entitled to the fees charged;
- Told two clients that he was paid by the insurance product provider when in fact he drew fees directly from clients’ superannuation;
- Provided false declarations to the trustee of the superannuation fund in order to access fees from six clients’ superannuation accounts totalling $286,530.60; and
- Gave funds to clients from their superannuation, and unknown to his clients, kept a portion of the funds for himself.
ASIC also found that Mr Banks was not of good fame and character as his conduct was dishonest and involved the betrayal of client trust, as well as deceiving PIS and the trustee of the superannuation fund.
ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell commented:
ASIC will take action to remove dishonest persons from the financial services and credit industry to protect the public.
Mr Banks’ conduct was particularly harmful in that his actions eroded his clients’ superannuation, which exists for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to members, or to their dependents if a member dies before retirement.