The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned Park Trent Properties Group chief executive and director Ronald Cross from providing financial services for four years, after it was found he extensively and illegally publicised the purchase of investment properties through an SMSF to clients.
On 27 November 2015, further to proceedings issued by ASIC, the Supreme Court of New South Wales found that Park Trent had unlawfully carried on an unlicensed financial services business for over five years by advising clients to purchase property with an SMSF.
The court also permanently restrained the group from providing unlicensed financial product advice to clients regarding SMSFs.
ASIC found as the key decision maker of Park Trent, Cross, from Figtree, NSW, was knowingly involved in the group’s contraventions, making all of its major strategic and business decisions, and intended to influence clients to purchase properties through SMSFs.
Furthermore, ASIC believed Cross was willing to ignore legal advice and warnings about Park Trent’s practices, demonstrating he is likely to contravene financial services laws.
“ASIC’s action against Cross shows that we will not hesitate to exclude property spruikers who provide unlicensed financial services from the industry,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said.
Cross has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the regulator’s decision.
ASIC launched legal proceedings in November 2014 against Park Trent, which had, by the time of the trial in June 2015, advised over 860 members of the public to establish and switch funds into an SMSF.