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ASIC ramps up focus on SMSF property spruikers

Katarina Taurian
05 May 2015 — 1 minute read

ASIC has stressed property spruiking is the “largest concern” facing the SMSF sector as a Federal Court case found one property developer targeted hundreds of investors in a property scam.

Commissioner Greg Tanzer stressed the importance of a recent Federal Court ruling that Gold Coast property developer Craig Gore and associates duped hundreds of investors into investing in a property scam in the US, according to Fairfax reports.

"The judgement did confirm our view that those who promote and make recommendation to investors about establishing an SMSF or using an existing one to recommend that they manage their assets in a particular way or dispose superannuation assets are carrying on a financial services business and therefore need a licence," Mr Tanzer said.


"Obviously the judgement goes further than that and makes [a] finding about the conduct of individual directors and that they were knowingly concerned in those contraventions and the result of that unlicensed activity is that a number of investors lost substantial funds."

Since the establishment of the SMSF taskforce in 2012, ASIC has been meeting regularly to examine what it considers “high-risk and emerging SMSF issues”, such as property spruiking to SMSFs.

Earlier this year, ASIC ordered former company director Steven William Hill to stand trial on fraud charges after an investigation found he recommended investors set up SMSFs for property investment.

Further, ASIC has been pursuing the founder of the Charterhill Group of Companies, George Nowak, announcing in March this year it has banned Mr Nowak from providing financial services until 3 July 2017 on the basis that he is an undischarged bankrupt.

At the time, ASIC stated it is continuing to investigate the conduct of Mr Nowak and the activities of the Charterhill Group, which operated as a 'one stop shop' and with advice to clients including the establishment of SMSFs and the sourcing and purchase of investment properties.

ASIC ramps up focus on SMSF property spruikers
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