The corporate regulator has banned former director at retail over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives issuer Union Standard and responsible manager, John Carlton Martin, from providing financial services for 10 years and disqualified from managing corporations for five years due to his serious lack of understanding or regard for compliance.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found that Martin was involved in Union Standard’s failures to:
- Do all things necessary to ensure that the financial services covered by its licence were provided efficiently, honestly and fairly; and
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that its representatives, TradeFred and EuropeFX, complied with financial services laws.
Union Standard and its former corporate authorised representatives, Maxi EFX Global AU Pty Ltd (also known as EuropeFX) and BrightAU Capital Pty Ltd (also known as TradeFred) (in liquidation) operated under Union Standard’s Australian financial services (AFS) licence.
ASIC also found Martin failed to implement and enforce compliance policies and procedures and failed to address misconduct by EuropeFX and TradeFred representatives when alerted to instances including:
- Representatives providing personal advice to clients when not licensed to do so; and
- Representatives making representations to clients that were likely to mislead, including about the level of risk clients’ funds were exposed to and expected profits.
Following this, the regulator also found that Martin was not adequately trained or competent and was not a fit and proper person to provide financial services.
According to the ASIC, the financial products issued by Union Standard were high risk financial products, with features that may not be understood or appreciated by retail clients.
Martin was the responsible manager of Union Standard from December 2014 to September 2019 and was a director from February 2019. Since 20 September, 2018, Martin was also the sole director of TradeFred.
In July 2020, Union Standard entered into voluntary administration and liquidators were appointed and, in March 2020, TradeFred went into liquidation.
In July 2020, ASIC suspended the AFS licence of Union Standard and in September 2020 ASIC cancelled its licence.