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16-260MR ASIC bans former representative of Macquarie Equities Limited
ASIC has banned Mr Nicholas Kerr, of Carindale, Queensland, from providing financial services for five years after finding that he engaged in unauthorised discretionary trading on his client accounts, provided inappropriate advice and created false records.
Mr Kerr was a representative of Macquarie Equities Limited (MEL) from March 2008 to August 2013.
ASIC's investigation found that during the period Mr Kerr was a representative of MEL, he engaged in discretionary trading on five client accounts. MEL has prohibited its representatives from engaging in discretionary trading on behalf of clients since 2004.
Mr Kerr breached the financial services laws by representing to those clients that he was authorised by MEL to operate a discretionary trading account in circumstances where he was not.
ASIC also found that Mr Kerr created records on behalf of clients that falsely indicated that he had provided advice to the clients prior to trading when he had not, in circumstances where he had engaged in unauthorised discretionary trading.
In addition, ASIC's investigation found that advice Mr Kerr provided to five of his clients was not appropriate to those clients, having regard to their personal circumstances.
ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said, 'Investors should feel confident that financial advisors are acting within the authority given to them by their licensee at all times and appropriately considering their interests. ASIC will act to remove advisors who fail to do so'.
Mr Kerr has a right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
This outcome is a result of ASIC's Wealth Management Project. The Wealth Management Project was established in October 2014 with the objective of lifting standards by major financial advice providers. The Wealth Management Project focuses on the conduct of the largest financial advice firms (NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP).
ASIC's work in the Wealth Management Project covers a number of areas including:
1. working with the largest financial advice firms to address the identification and remediation of non-compliant advice;
2. seeking regulatory outcomes, where appropriate, against licensees and advisers. For example, as part of its Wealth Management Project, ASIC has banned the following advisers from the financial services industry, in addition to Mr Kerr:
- Craig Scott Miller (16-239MR)
- Wayne Meadth (16-188MR)
- Hardik Bhimani (refer: 16-124MR)
- Gerard McCormack (overturned on appeal: 16-448MR)
- Shane Thompson (refer:16-022MR)
- Ben Rickman (refer:16-006MR)
- Ben Cheung (refer: 16-004MR)
- Mark Tidbury (refer: 15-383MR)
- Amanda Ritchie (refer: 15-294MR)
- Stuart Murray Jamieson (refer:15-288MR)
- Sharnie Kent (refer: 15-286MR)
- Alfie Chong (refer: 15-259MR)
- Martin Hodgetts (refer: 15-218MR)
- Shawn Hickman (refer: 15-213MR)
- Brett O'Malley (refer: 15-121MR)
- Brian Farber (refer: 15-178MR), and
- Rebecca Locksley (refer: 15-070MR).
Discretionary trading is an arrangement by which a client gives a financial advisor the discretion to make investments on their behalf without the need to receive instructions from the client before each transaction. Under these arrangements, it is agreed that the financial advisor will use their investment expertise to generate a financial return for the client using the client's funds.
Mr Kerr's conduct was reported to ASIC by MEL.