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Tuesday 25 February 2020

20-046MR ASIC cancels AFS licence of Financial Options and permanently bans adviser

ASIC has permanently banned Queensland-based financial adviser Mr William John Henry Houwing (known as Jack Houwing) from providing financial services and cancelled the Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence of Financial Options Pty Ltd (Financial Options). 

Mr Houwing, of Esk, was a director and authorised representative of Financial Options. ASIC found that between 31 August 2006 and 15 May 2019, Mr Houwing arranged for his clients to lend money to his related entities, including:

  • Belbrooke Pty Ltd as trustee for the Belbrooke Administration      Trust;
  • Belbrooke Pty Ltd as trustee for the Belbrooke Mortgage Trust; and
  • Ochkit Pty Ltd as trustee for the Houwing Family Trust.

ASIC found that Mr Houwing:

  • failed to act in the best interests of his clients by recommending that they allow their self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) to lend money to his related entities, particularly in circumstances where he failed to recommend that they obtain their own independent advice;
  • arranged loans from clients for his own use, and in some cases, benefited when he failed to repay the loans on time;
  • had a conflict of interest as both a financial adviser and the recipient of the loans, and failed to prioritise the interests of his clients over his own interests;
  • is not adequately trained or competent to provide financial services; and
  • is not of good fame or character.

ASIC Commissioner, Danielle Press said, ‘The failure of financial advisers to act in the best of interests of their clients or to prioritise their clients’ interests over their own, not only harms their clients but also erodes public trust in the financial system.   

'ASIC expects financial advisers to uphold the values of integrity and professionalism,' Ms Press said.

The cancellation of Financial Options’ AFS licence follows the suspension of the licence on 26 August 2019, following concerns that Financial Options was not meeting its obligations as an AFS licensee (19-248MR).

In cancelling the AFS licence, ASIC found that Financial Options had not complied with its financial requirements and had not done all things necessary to address ASIC’s concerns in relation to organisational competence, human resources and compliance requirements.

Mr Houwing’s banning will be recorded on ASIC's publicly available Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register.

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Mr Houwing and Financial Options have the right to seek a review of ASIC's decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Last updated: 25/02/2020 03:03