Former adviser sentenced to jail over illegal early release scheme
A former Victorian financial adviser has been sentenced to jail for obtaining financial advantage by deception after being found to have facilitated illegal early release in super.
Former financial adviser Ahmed Saad of Glenroy, Victoria, has been convicted by the County Court of Victoria of one count of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception.
Mr Saad was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for the first count and one-month imprisonment for the second, to be served concurrently, after being found to have facilitated unlawful early access to superannuation. He was also sentenced to an 18-month community correction order, including 100 hours of unpaid community work.
Mr Saad was the sole director of Saad Wealth Management. From 10 April 2012 until 16 October 2017, Mr Saad and Saad Wealth Management were authorised representatives of Apogee Financial Planning Limited (Apogee).
Beginning in October 2016, Mr Saad operated a scheme in which he provided his clients illegal early access to their superannuation funds.
Mr Saad submitted applications for one-off advice fees to NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited (NULIS), as trustee for the MLC Super Fund, in which he represented he had provided financial services to his clients when he had not. He would then pay these funds back to clients, facilitating unlawful early release of superannuation.
Between 11 November 2016 and 13 October 2017, Mr Saad obtained $1,531,925 from NULIS on behalf of 168 clients. Between 11 August 2017 and 11 October 2017, Mr Saad attempted to obtain a further $92,400 on behalf of 10 clients. Mr Saad indirectly benefited from the scheme by growing his client base.
“The sentence imposed demonstrates the seriousness of this misconduct. Facilitating the unlawful early release of superannuation can lead to the erosion of people’s super balances, which has the potential to lead to long-term hardship,” ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said.
“ASIC will continue to take action to protect the superannuation assets of consumers.”
Mr Saad was sentenced on 23 November 2021. He first appeared before the court on 24 February 2021 and entered a plea of guilty on 21 April 2021.
This matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following a referral from ASIC.
In October 2017, Apogee revoked the authority of Mr Saad and Saad Wealth Management to act as its authorised representatives. Mr Saad’s conduct was reported to ASIC by Apogee.
ASIC permanently banned Mr Saad from providing financial services in December 2018.
Tony Zhang is a Journalist at 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 2020, Tony has covered various publications across the legal, financial and professional services sectors including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and Accountants Daily.