Former director charged over unlicensed financial services
A former director has been charged in relation to providing unlicensed financial services and credit activity after allegedly promoting and operating a scheme facilitating the illegal early release of superannuation.
ASIC said in a statement that Grant Thorsby Ross, former sole director of both Motabank (SA) Pty Ltd and Multimedia Marketing Pty Ltd, has been charged with one count of carrying on a financial services business without a licence by recommending to clients they dispose of their superannuation funds, which were then used to access loan funds.
Mr Ross was also charged with three counts of engaging in a credit activity without a licence by performing the obligations of a credit provider and being a credit provider under a credit contract, said ASIC.
Between 1 July 2010 and 13 November 2012, Mr Ross placed newspaper advertisements in Victoria and South Australia flagging the availability of loans dependent upon future superannuation entitlements, the regulator said.
“When contacted by potential clients, Mr Ross allegedly promoted and operated a scheme facilitating the illegal early release of superannuation through the creation of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF's),” the statement said.
ASIC also alleges that a 'round robin' scheme was operated by Mr Ross whereby his clients would transfer their superannuation funds into newly created SMSFs.
“The SMSF's would loan funds to Mr Ross' company and then an amount, less a fee, was loaned by either Mr Ross's company or personally by Mr Ross back to the trustees of the SMSF in their personal capacity,” ASIC said.
ASIC stated that Mr Ross does not hold and has never been granted an Australian Financial Services Licence or an Australian Credit Licence.
The investigation first arose from an intelligence report lodged by the Australian Taxation Office which raised concerns about Mr Ross' conduct.
“Each charge in relation to carrying on a financial services business without a licence carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment or a fine of 200 penalty units,” said ASIC.
“Each charge in relation to engaging in a credit activity without a licence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a fine of 200 penalty units.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.