The corporate regulator has permanently banned an Adelaide adviser from “having any involvement” in a financial services business under its new extended powers.
In a statement, ASIC said it had enacted the ban, the first under the new Stronger Regulators Act, allowing a permanent disqualification from involvement in all financial services or credit businesses rather than engaging in financial services or credit activities, on James Gibbs, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for fraud offences last year.
Gibbs had been an authorised representative of Madison Financial Group, and the director of James Gibbs Investments. ASIC had become aware of Gibbs' misconduct through a breach report by Madison.
The District Court of South Australia found he had conducted unauthorised transactions on client SMSF accounts between 2009 and 2016, and had used almost $5 million of client funds for his own benefit, including by propping up his own business, paying himself and staff a salary and for gambling.
Between 25 June 2012 and 30 July 2016, Gibbs also created and used false documents, including bank documents and member statements in which he lied to his clients about the value of their investment portfolios to cover up his thefts.
At the time of Gibbs' sentence in July 2019, ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said he had deliberately withheld information from clients to avoid detection.
"Financial advisers should always allow clients to access information about their own investments, and clients should be concerned if this is not occurring," Ms Press said.
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