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This week in penalties…

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Efficiently, fairly, honestly

This week, ASIC announced it was taking action against in the Federal Court a division of Tidswell Master Superannuation Plan over the promotion of the MobiSuper Fund.

Concerned about the potential harm to consumers, the regulator alleged Tidswell and ZIB (Mobi’s AFS licensee) failed to do ‘all things necessary’ to meet their licensee requirement to deliver services ‘efficiently, honestly and fairly’ under their AFS Licence.

According to ASIC’s statement:

ASIC also alleges that both Tidswell and ZIB failed to adequately monitor MobiSuper’s promotion of the Fund through a purported ‘general advice model’ that had insufficient regard for consumers’ best interests. Further, ASIC alleges false and misleading statements were made about superannuation, insurance products and services.

Failing to Cooperate

The corporate regulator has obtained consent orders and undertakings against Ross Andrew Hopkins, QWL Pty Ltd and QWL Asset Management, preventing both Hopkins and QWL from dissipating or diminishing the value of their assets and from providing financial advice without first seeking approval from ASIC.

This comes after allegations that Hopkins and QWL failed to assist the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) in resolving compliance complaints.

Auditors on notice

Auditors are locked firmly in the corporate regulator’s sights, as ASIC moved to disqualify three auditors of self-managed superfunds.

According to ASIC, the auditors’ failed to meet the requirements for independent standards, and auditing standards, nor did they comply with further conditions on approved auditors’ registration.

The list of those disqualified, according to the ASIC website:

  • Darryl Iseppi, of Queensland: for significant auditor independence breaches and deficiencies in auditing the acquisition of shares, borrowings, valuation of assets, compliance with in-house asset requirements and regarding a non-commutable life pension.

  • Alan Bentwitch, of New South Wales: for failing to comply with a condition to have peer reviews of three of his audits. The condition was imposed following a past referral from the ATO.

And list of those who have had further conditions imposed on them:

  • Richard Hennessy, of New South Wales: for deficiencies in maintaining auditor independence and in audit work, including auditing the ownership and valuation of fund assets and ensuring compliance with legislative borrowing requirements.

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