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Tuesday 3 July 2018

18-199MR ASIC takes action against Refocus Financial Group

ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland against:

  • Brett Andrew Gordon, a former financial adviser;
  • Refocus Financial Group Pty Ltd (Refocus), a financial planning business based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, operated by Mr Gordon;
  • Heather Jean Swift, Mr Gordon’s partner; and
  • Consultia Super Pty Ltd (Consultia) of which Ms Swift is the sole director.

Mr Gordon and Refocus were authorised representatives of Solar Financial Advisory Pty Ltd (Solar) between 28 June 2014 and 26 August 2017. During that period, ASIC alleges that Mr Gordon recommended that clients establish self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) and then advance unsecured loans to a related company, Diverse Capital Management Pty Ltd (Diverse) to undertake property development. Diverse was placed into liquidation on 18 May 2018.

Following an investigation, ASIC alleges that:

  • At least 10 clients loaned $1.4 million to Diverse on Mr Gordon’s recommendation. Those funds remain outstanding;
  • Mr Gordon used funds that had been loaned to Diverse for his personal use and as working capital for Refocus;
  • Ms Swift received funds from Diverse which were applied for her personal use;
  • Mr Gordon and Refocus entered into other unsecured loan agreements to borrow funds from SMSF clients of Refocus, which have not yet been repaid; and
  • Mr Gordon has continued to provide financial services despite not being licensed to do so.

ASIC is seeking orders to:

  • Appoint a provisional liquidator to Refocus and Consultia;
  • Prevent Mr Gordon and Ms Swift from dealing with their assets; and
  • Restrain Mr Gordon from providing financial services.

The matter will be heard in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on 11 July 2018.

ASIC's investigation is continuing.

Background

Solar terminated Mr Gordon and Refocus as authorised representatives after becoming aware of Mr Gordon's conduct, and reported it to ASIC.

Clients of Refocus who wish to make a complaint regarding Mr Gordon can contact Solar or the Financial Ombudsman Service on 1800 367 287.

Editor's note: 

On 11 July 2018, the Supreme Court made final orders in this matter at the request of the parties. The Court ordered, by consent, that: 

  • Refocus and Consultia be wound up;  
  • Michael McCann of Grant Thornton be appointed as the liquidator of Refocus and Consultia; and 
  • Mr Gordon be restrained from carrying on a financial services business without holding an Australian Financial Services licence (AFSL) or being an authorised representative of an AFS licence holder. 

On the basis of a sworn affidavit filed by Ms Swift, ASIC did not proceed with its application against Ms Swift and no orders were made against her. 

Current clients of Refocus and Consultia can contact the liquidator by email: 

Last updated: 30/03/2021 09:27