AAT upholds ASIC ban of client adviser

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has affirmed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) to ban Mark Menzies from providing financial services, after he had engaged in manipulation of the price of MINI Warrants commonly known as “MINIs”.

He was the sole director and officer of Menzies Securities Pty Ltd and was banned for a period of four years, until 28 January 2022, in its decision the AAT determined the ban be varied to expire on 31 December 2020.

ASIC’s decision to ban Menzies followed an investigation that found he had engaged in manipulation of the price of MINI warrants issues by Credit Suisse, a derivative product traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). This was through engaging in pre-arranged trades for the sole or dominant purpose of transferring a profit or loss from previous transactions.

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A MINI is a type of derivative that derives its value from another ‘thing’ which is commonly referred to as the ‘underlying instrument’. The underlying instrument of a MINI may be a share, a share price index, a pair of currencies or a commodity.

The AAT found Menzies had contravened s.1041A of the Corporations Act 2001 and noted: “for the holder of an Australian Financial Services licence to be involved in a breach of s.1041A of the Act, conduct which involved market manipulation, is very serious, and such as to merit a banning order in both the public interest and in order to deter others from embarking upon such activity, and also to encourage confidence in the market and its operators.”

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