ASIC has permanently banned a former NSW financial adviser after he engaged in dishonest conduct and "preyed on elderly and vulnerable people".
In a statement today, ASIC announced it has permanently banned Ashley Grant Howard from providing financial services after it was found that he had: engaged in dishonest conduct; held out that trading he was conducting was authorised; provided financial services when not licensed or authorised to do so; and engaged in conduct that was likely to mislead.
ASIC also found that Mr Howard had breached the Corporations Act by: using more than $1.8 million of client funds for his own benefit or the benefit of others (which included paying for cosmetic surgery for his partner, purchasing a house and settling debts to Jordan Belfort, the so-called 'Wolf of Wall Street'); and provided false information and documents to clients and third parties.
ASIC said Mr Howard was once a licensed adviser, but did not name the licensee.
Mr Howard's dishonest, unauthorised use of the $1.8 million from clients led to ASIC finding that he was not of good fame and character, the statement said.
ASIC commissioner John Price said, "ASIC will take action to remove persons from the financial services industry to protect the public.
"Mr Howard's conduct was particularly bad in that, on occasions, he preyed on elderly and vulnerable people."
Mr Howard has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
This article has been amended to clarify that Mr Howard was previously a licensed adviser.
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