A former Sydney financial adviser has been charged with three counts of dishonest conduct and two counts of giving a disclosure document knowing it to be defective.
Sam Henderson has copped the charges following an ASIC investigation, which related to alleged false representations that he had made saying he had a Master of Commerce.
ASIC has claimed that Mr Henderson, while a senior adviser and director of Henderson Maxwell, engaged in dishonest conduct when he made false representations that he had the qualification in PowerPoint presentations he gave to prospective clients from 2010 to 2016, on the Henderson Maxwell website from October 2012 to August 2016, in Henderson Maxwell brochures distributed between 2013 and 2016 and in an Information Memorandum dated May 2011.
Each dishonest conduct offence under s1041G of the Corporations Act 2001 carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to 4,500 penalty units.
ASIC has also alleged that Mr Henderson breached s952D(2)(a)(ii) of the Corporations Act in 2014 and 2016 by giving at least two clients a financial services guide that contained the false representation that he held a Master of Commerce (Financial Planning).
An s952D(2)(a)(ii) Corporations Act offence carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 200 penalty units.
The charges have followed ASIC’s investigation into Henderson Maxwell and Mr Henderson, after evidence of misconduct was presented during the royal commission.
Mr Henderson and the firm were the subjects of a "Bad Advice" case study during the Hayne commission.
In July last year, ASIC banned him from providing financial services for three years. The regulator ruled he had failed to act in the best interests of his clients, provide appropriate advice and prioritise clients’ interests when providing financial advice – leading to clients either losing money or being at risk of doing so.
ASIC deputy chair Daniel Crennan commented, “ASIC is dedicated to improving standards across the financial services industry.
“These charges demonstrate that ASIC will investigate allegations of breaches of the law by financial advisers when dealing with their clients, including allegations of giving inaccurate and dishonest information.”
The charges against Mr Henderson were mentioned at the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.
Mr Henderson did not enter a plea and the matter will next come before the court on 4 August.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter, following a referral of a brief of evidence from ASIC.
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