Misleading AFSL applications worrying ASIC

ASIC continues to be concerned about the culture of the financial services industry, saying it is still catching many AFSL applicants trying to mislead the regulator.

In its fourth licensing activity report, ASIC said it is concerned about the attitude of some applicants, who appear willing to provide false or misleading information in support of a licence or professional registration application.

“We have also recently been concerned about specific aspects of applications where individuals are required to make a declaration to ASIC,” the report said.

In one instance, ASIC said, the nominated responsible manager did not disclose that he or she had been involved in the management of a business that had been subject to disciplinary action as a result of an investigation.

Another did not disclose that he or she had been bankrupt, while another incorrectly claimed to have work experience at a large Australian bank.

“In addition to regarding false and misleading information as a basis to refuse a licence or professional registration application, applicants should be aware that, where appropriate, we will consider whether other action is warranted,” ASIC said.

“This could include commencing an investigation which may result in potential criminal proceedings.”

The report also shows that from 1 January to 30 June 2016, ASIC considered 1,902 AFSL applications and granted 346 new licences and 246 licence variations.

A total of 122 applications were withdrawn before a formal determination, while two were withdrawn after a hearing was conducted and four were refused.

“We believe the number of applications refused would have been much higher if applicants had not withdrawn their applications in response to our feedback rather than proceeding to a formal determination,” ASIC said.

During the relevant period, nine AFSL's were suspended and 143 were cancelled.

Of the ones that were cancelled, 135 were at the request of the licensee, while eight were as a result of ASIC action, the report states.

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