ASIC bans former Macquarie Equities representative

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned a second Macquarie Equities Limited (MEL) adviser for six years for falsification of records and unauthorised trading on client accounts.

ASIC stated it had banned Shawn Hickman, of Middle Cove, New South Wales, from providing financial services for that period due to activities undertaken while he was a representative of MEL from February 2008 to March 2013.

As part of investigations carried out under the ASIC's Wealth Management Project, the regulator found from November 2009 to October 2012, Hickman engaged in discretionary trading on six client accounts despite MEL having prohibited the activity since 2004.

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ASIC said Hickman breached financial services laws "by holding out and representing to those clients that he was authorised by MEL to operate a discretionary trading account in circumstances where he was not".

Hickman was also found to have created false order records indicating he had received execution only instructions from clients prior to trading in circumstances where he had engaged in unauthorised discretionary trading. He was also found to have created a false order sheet in which 14 clients called in the space of nearly three hours and provided the same execution only instructions in relation to an options transaction.

As part of a wider client compensation program undertaken in response to an enforceable undertaking accepted by ASIC in January 2013, MEL is reviewing whether clients of Hickman suffered losses and eligible for compensation.

Hickman's banning is the second for an MEL representative with Brett O'Malley, of Sunshine Beach, Queensland, banned from providing financial services for five years for also engaging in unauthorised discretionary trading on his clients' accounts and created false records.

The bans are the result of ASIC's Wealth Management Project, which started late last year, where ASIC is undertaking a number of investigations and risk-based surveillances, with a focus on compliance in large financial advice businesses.

Aside from the two MEL related banninsg ASIC has also banned a life insurance adviser licensed under the Macquarie Group and a former Commonwealth Financial Planning employee.

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