ASIC has banned Gold Coast director Darren Thomas Edden-Brown (also known as Darren Brown, Darren Edden Brown and Darren Thomas Brown), from providing financial services and engaging in credit activity for eight years. He is also banned from controlling, or performing any functions as an officer of, an entity that carries on a financial services business or engages in credit activities.
Mr Edden-Brown operated a business under the brand ‘Enigma’ which advertised on its website and social media, offering to help consumers to buy a home.
In conducting this business, ASIC found that Mr Edden-Brown had:
- told consumers who did not meet the conditions for early release of super that they could access their super early to buy a home or pay personal debts; and
- assisted consumers who did not meet the conditions for early release to access their super early to repay personal debts.
Mr Edden-Brown is the sole director and shareholder of Edden Brown Holdings Pty Ltd (EBH), the corporate trustee for the Enigma Corporation Trust (Enigma Corporation) and the Equitibanx Australian Trust (Equitibanx). From 2019 to 2021, he was also a director and ultimate shareholder of licensees, Consolidated Mercantile Group Ltd (CMG), Wentworth Financial Services Pty Ltd (Wentworth) and Search Finance Pty Ltd (Search Finance).
ASIC found that Mr Edden-Brown was responsible for representations on company websites, including that Enigma Corporation, Equitibanx and CMG were licenced or authorised to provide certain financial products and services, when they were not. Although ASIC raised concerns about these statements with Mr Edden-Brown in December 2020, he failed to remove the statements until July 2021.
As a result of this conduct, ASIC found Mr Edden-Brown is not fit and proper, and is not adequately trained or competent, to participate in the financial services and credit industries.
Mr Edden-Brown’s banning has been recorded on ASIC’s publicly available Banned and Disqualified persons register. He has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
In July 2022, ASIC banned Albert Christen Walters, known as Chris Walters, CMG’s Responsible Manager for four years for failing to monitor and oversee CMG’s business and failing to address concerns raised by ASIC (22-196MR). CMG voluntarily deregistered on 25 February 2023.
Wentworth Financial Services Pty Ltd applied to voluntarily cancel its AFS licence and it was cancelled on 8 November 2022.
Superannuation can only be accessed prior to retirement age if a condition of release is met. Illegal early release schemes expose consumers to significant penalties.