Investigation uncovers fraudulent property deals

Investigation uncovers fraudulent property deals

04 September 2015 by Staff Reporter 0 comments

The regulator has thrown the book at a bankrupt financial adviser who collected commissions for selling real estate on behalf of a developer.

ASIC announced that it has permanently banned Nicholas Hunter from the financial services industry after he advised some clients to directly invest their SMSF in property during 2012.

“Mr Hunter was selling the properties on behalf of a Queensland property development company, MOGS Pty Ltd [in liquidation], and collecting commission of between $10,000 and $25,000 per sale,” according to ASIC.

ASIC said Mr Hunter contravened financial services laws and is bankrupt.

The regulator’s investigation found that Mr Hunter was “involved in the issue of falsified Westpac finance letters to MOGS to facilitate payment of his commissions”.

He also provided financial advice to several SMSF clients in 2012 “when not licensed or authorised”.

ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said the regulator has recently focused its attention on the SMSF sector as the fastest-growing sector in the superannuation industry.

“The matter involving Mr Hunter highlights ASIC's concerns about the potential for direct property advice though SMSF to constitute financial advice,” he said.

“Further, the adviser must act in the best interests of the client in giving that advice.”

ASIC said that Mr Hunter’s most recent appointment was with Spring Financial Group, between 2011 and 2012, although Spring Financial has denied that he was ever an employee.

[Related: ASIC drafts new real estate rules]

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