The corporate regulator has permanently banned a former Professional Investment Services-aligned financial adviser for creating false documents and keeping portions of clients’ funds for himself.
In a statement, ASIC said it permanently banned Stewart James Banks of the Gold Coast from providing financial services and engaging in credit activity.
Mr Banks was employed as a representative of Professional Investment Services (PIS) – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centrepoint Alliance – from 18 April 2007 until 20 May 2015.
During a period between 2012 and 2015, Mr Banks had created documents, invoices and fee forms in relation to six clients that were false because he did not undertake the hours of work claimed and was not entitled to the fees charged, ASIC said.
He also told two clients that he was paid by an insurance product provider when he actually drew fees directly from clients’ superannuation, ASIC said, as well as provided false declarations to the trustees of the superannuation funds to access fees from the clients’ accounts.
Further, Mr Banks gave funds to the clients from their superannuation, and unknown to them, kept a portion of the funds for himself, the statement said.
ASIC determined Mr Banks was not of good fame and character as his conduct was dishonest and involved the betrayal of client trust, as well as deceiving PIS and the trustee of the superannuation fund.
ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said, “ASIC will take action to remove dishonest persons from the financial services and credit industry to protect the public.
"Mr Banks' conduct was particularly harmful in that his actions eroded his clients' superannuation, which exists for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to members, or to their dependents if a member dies before retirement.”
Mr Banks has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
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