A former Sydney financial adviser has been permanently banned from providing financial services or from controlling an entity carrying on a financial services business.
After handing out a sentence of six years in prison in May, ASIC confirmed on Friday that it has permanently banned Ross Andrew Hopkins from providing financial services.
Mr Hopkins, who was an adviser and sole director of QWL Pty Ltd (QWL), was sentenced after he was found to have misappropriated $2,938,750 million of his clients’ funds.
Mr Hopkins — who previously pleaded guilty to all charges — misappropriated his clients’ funds over a nearly three-year period (14 October 2016 to 8 October 2019), after he was assigned to manage their self-managed superannuation accounts, and used the funds for his own personal benefit, including holidays, paying rent and paying off his own personal credit cards and loans.
ASIC found that Mr Hopkins made 167 unauthorised transfers which impacted 13 clients.
He was convicted of 15 dishonesty offences and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.
“Mr Hopkins lied to his clients, and the court’s decision demonstrates the seriousness of this conduct,” ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said in May.
“Financial advisers must be open and honest with their clients, and if they aren’t, they face serious consequences.
“Financial advisers should always allow clients to have direct access to information about their own investments. If this is not occurring, clients should contact ASIC with their concerns.”
Mr Hopkins has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.
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