Planner gets ban over multi-million dollar scam
ASIC has slapped a former HSBC planner with a lifetime ban from the financial services industry after an investigation found he had engaged in dishonest conduct in relation to client funds and investments.
Tak Simson Kwok, a former Perth-based adviser, was employed by HSBC Bank Australia Ltd (HSBC) from 29 September 2009 to 16 December 2013. His responsibilities included providing financial advice to HSBC customers in respect of investments in HSBC-approved products (HSBC APs).
An ASIC investigation found that between April 2013 and December 2013, Mr Kwok engaged not only in misleading and deceptive but also dishonest conduct in relation to client funds and investments.
In particular, ASIC found that Mr Kwok:
- misled and deceived four individual clients into investing a total of $1,975,000, which they falsely believed had been placed into an HSBC AP;
- misled and deceived a further two individual clients into investing or reinvesting a total of $2,295,000 into what the clients falsely believed was an HSBC AP Annuity investment;
- engaged in conduct that was dishonest, including forging documents and signatures to disguise the fact that client money had not been invested into an HSBC AP; and
- misled and deceived HSBC into erroneously believing he was only providing recommendations to the clients about products on the HSBC AP list and in accordance with HSBC policies.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, "ASIC will act to remove those financial advisers from the industry who engage in dishonest conduct".
In permanently banning Mr Kwok, ASIC found reason to believe that he was not of good fame or character. He has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
ASIC's investigation into Mr Kwok's conduct followed notification by HSBC. As a result of Mr Kwok's conduct, HSBC initiated court actions resulting in full remediation to all of the affected clients.
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