Misuse of SMSF funds sees adviser convicted
After a history of non-compliance, a former financial adviser has been convicted for engaging in dishonest conduct with investor funds, including money from SMSFs.
In a public statement, ASIC stated that former financial adviser Gabriel Nakhl has been convicted in the District Court of New South Wales on 8 June 2018 on eight charges brought by ASIC of engaging in dishonest conduct with investor funds.
Mr Nakhl, of Illawong, NSW, pleaded guilty to being knowingly engaged in dishonest conduct in relation to 12 investors, ASIC said.
ASIC stated the conduct occurred between March 2009 and March 2011 when Mr Nakhl was an authorised representative of Australian Financial Services Limited, now in liquidation, and from about March 2011 to about September 2013 when he was the sole director of SydFA Pty Ltd, now in liquidation.
In November 2013, ASIC accepted an enforceable undertaking from Mr Nakhl after it identified concerns that Mr Nakhl gave unauthorised financial product advice and gave financial product advice without a reasonable basis.
The investigation also found that Mr Nakhl made false and misleading statements and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, including making statements about the returns clients could expect and the risks of the investments he promoted.
“Specifically, Mr Nakhl advised some clients, including those in self-managed superannuation funds, to advance money to him so that he could invest it in a high-interest rate account on their behalf and pay them a fixed return,” ASIC said in an earlier statement.
“ASIC is concerned Mr Nakhl instead spent the money, among other things, on his private sports car and motorbike hire business and himself.”
ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said Mr Nakhl “breached the trust many investors placed in him”.
“Setting up an SMSF is one of the most significant steps an investor can take, and where an individual or company’s conduct unlawfully puts that investment at risk, ASIC will take action.”
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.