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ASIC bans former advice group CEO

The former chief executive of a financial advice group that was owned by a prominent Gold Coast businessman has been banned from providing financial services for three years, for providing misleading product information to clients.

According to an Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigation, Murray John Priestley, former chief executive of the Lifestyle Group, provided misleading statements and engaged in deceptive conduct regarding the controversial ‘Elite Investor’ product.

Priestley allegedly guaranteed clients profits in excess of 5 per cent per month for the Elite Investor product, when “he had no reasonable grounds for making the representation”.

In addition, he provided misleading information to clients regarding the ‘Aussie Rob Lifestyle Trader’ software developed by former owner of the Lifestyle Group, Gold Coast entrepreneur ‘Aussie’ Rob Wilson.

While the Lifestyle Investor Services entity within the Lifestyle Group was licensed to provide financial product advice between August 2008 and July 2012, Priestley was also found to have claimed a company called Lifestyle Private Wealth was licensed to provide financial advice when in fact it wasn’t.

"This matter shows that company officers in the financial services industry, as important gatekeepers, need to ensure that any promotional information provided about their products is factually correct and does not mislead consumers," said ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell in a statement.

The AFS licence of LIS was suspended in February 2012 and cancelled in July 2012.