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Tuesday 2 August 2022

22-202MR ASIC bans Adelaide based financial adviser for five years

ASIC has banned Antonio Simeone from providing financial services for five years. Mr Simeone is the current director, authorised representative, key person and responsible manager of Simeone Pty Ltd (Simeone).

Mr Simeone is also a director of Administrative Incentivised Management Systems Pty Ltd (ACN 603 650 139) (AIMS),  a company which Mr Simeone recommended his clients invest in and borrow money from.

A surveillance by ASIC found that Mr Simeone engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct when he recommended and facilitated the illegal early release of superannuation.

Mr Simeone recommended clients who were under financial pressure to roll over their APRA regulated superannuation fund to a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) and invest in AIMS. Mr Simeone then allowed the clients to borrow some of what was invested in AIMS, on the understanding there was no obligation to repay what was lent.

Mr Simeone’s clients relied on his advice and assumed that the investing of superannuation in AIMS, and the receipt of loans from AIMS, was legally permissible and appropriate. The strategy Mr Simeone recommended to, facilitated for, and allowed for his clients, resulted in his clients breaching the restrictions on the early release of superannuation benefits, and their SMSF not satisfying the requirement that it meet the Sole Purpose Test.

Mr Simeone’s conduct demonstrated he was not adequately trained or competent, was not a fit and proper person and was likely to contravene a financial services law in the future.

This ban prevents Mr Simeone from providing any financial services and from being involved (including as an officer, manager, employee, contractor or in some other capacity) in managing, supervising, or auditing the provision of a financial service and the provision of training about a financial service or a financial product.

In addition to banning Mr Simeone from providing financial services for five years, ASIC has cancelled the Australian financial services licence of Simeone Pty Ltd (refer: 22-201MR).

ASIC’s Moneysmart website has useful information for consumers whose advisers have been banned.

Background

Mr Simeone was a director of Simeone (AFS licence no. 247480) from 4 June 1986 and was an authorised representative, key person and responsible manager of Simeone from 23 January 2004.

Pending an application to appeal the banning order to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), as well as an application for orders staying the operation of the ban and to keep the ban and the appeal against it confidential, ASIC was unable to publicise Mr Simeone’s banning.

On 28 June 2022, the AAT ordered that there should be no stay and that neither the ban nor the appeal should be confidential. ASIC’s decision to ban Mr Simeone remains under review at the AAT.

Last updated: 02/08/2022 12:00