The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has used the sentencing of a financial adviser to send a message on its approach to adviser self-licensing.
The regulator noted the sentencing of Melbourne-based Michael Davie after he pleaded guilty to three charges of making false or misleading statements in documents submitted to ASIC relating to his obtaining an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL).
The charges, which followed an ASIC investigation, alleged that on or about 3 August 2016, and in support of an application for an AFSL Davie made statements that were false or misleading including a forged educational certificate and a table referring to an educational qualification that had not been obtained.
The court found each of the charges proven, and placed Davie on a good behaviour bond for a twelve-month period, without recording a conviction in circumstances where the man had co-operated with ASIC's investigation including by pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Commenting on the sentencing, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said the regulator had pursued the charges because of the high degree of integrity it expected of people who applied for an AFSL.
“It also shows that ASIC wants reputable financial advisers, who play by the rules, to be able to operate on a level playing field,” he said.
The ASIC release said the prosecution was consistent with the regulator’s Small Business Strategy, released last month, noting that “this outcome is an example of how ASIC’s enforcement work helps to protect small business by levelling the playing field so that everyone is playing by the same rules”.