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Tuesday 28 July 2015

15-199MR ASIC bans former director of Provident Capital Limited

ASIC has banned Mr Trevor John Seymour, a former director of Provident Capital Limited (Provident Capital), from managing corporations for three years and providing financial services for three years.

The ban follows an ASIC investigation which found Mr Seymour breached his duties as a director and failed to comply with financial services laws.

Mr Seymour, of Campbelltown, New South Wales, was a director of Provident Capital from 25 May 1998 to 17 December 2013. Provident Capital went into receivership on 3 July 2012 and into liquidation on 24 October 2012.

ASIC’s investigation found Mr Seymour breached his obligations as a director of Provident Capital and engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive in relation to financial products by approving a number of documents issued by Provident Capital, namely:

  • 15 Quarterly and 7 Benchmark Reports issued to ASIC and Australian Executor Trustees Limited, which contained misleading statements and which were misleading or deceptive, and
  • a Debenture Prospectus in December 2010, issued to raise funds from the public, which contained misleading statements and which were misleading or deceptive; and
  • Information Booklets in 2012, which were deficient.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said, 'Directors of financial services companies have a clear responsibility to ensure the company provides accurate and credible information upon which investors can rely. ASIC will act to remove people who fail in their corporate governance and compliance obligations, for the protection of the public'.

Mr Seymour has been granted permission by ASIC to manage Raintron Pty Ltd (the trustee of his self-managed superannuation fund) and Garde Pty Ltd (a trustee company which acts as an executor of an estate) on the basis that altering the arrangements to accommodate his disqualification is disproportionate to the risk to the public given the limited activities of these companies. He is also permitted to act as a director of trading company of his accountancy practice - Bretnalls NSW Pty Ltd - so long as he is not the sole director and on the basis that he continues to be involved in its day to day business. 

Mr Seymour has filed an application with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of ASIC's decision.

ASIC’s investigation is continuing.

Background

On 20 February 2015, ASIC banned managing director of Provident Capital, Mr Michael Roger O’Sullivan, of Sydney, from managing corporations for five years and from providing financial services for seven years (refer: 15-033MR). Mr O'Sullivan sought a review of ASIC's decision in the AAT. The hearing commenced 14 July 2015 and is continuing.

On 1 July 2015, ASIC banned former non-executive director of Provident Capital, Mr John Patrick Sweeney, of Sydney, from providing financial services for two years (refer: 15-173MR). ASIC found Mr Sweeney failed to comply with financial services laws. Mr Sweeney has also sought a review of ASIC's decision in the AAT.

The liquidators of Provident Capital (McGrath+Nicol) assisted ASIC's actions by preparing a detailed report on their investigation into the company. ASIC funded the liquidators' investigation and report via the Assetless Administration Fund.

Provident Capital issued debentures to retail investors through their Fixed Term Investment Portfolio and advanced the debenture funds to third party borrowers, including property developers, on a first mortgage basis.

Provident Capital also operated a mortgage fund under a wholesale facility with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and two managed investment schemes.

On 29 June 2012, on an application by the Australian Executor Trustees Limited, the trustee for Provident Capital debenture holders, the Court ordered that receivers be appointed to Provident Capital. ASIC appeared as a ‘friend of the court’ in these proceedings.

ASIC suspended Provident Capital’s Australian financial services licence on 15 October 2012.

When Provident Capital went into liquidation on 24 October 2012, over 3,000 Provident Capital debenture holders were owed approximately $130 million.

Provident Capital’s receivers (PPB Advisory) have estimated that the likely return to debenture holders will be in the range of $0.17 to $0.19 in the dollar.

Last updated: 28/07/2015 12:00