The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has permanently banned former financial adviser Ross Andrew Hopkins from providing financial services or from controlling an entity carrying on a financial services business.
Hopkins was a financial adviser and sole director of QWL in Sydney. QWL and Hopkins provided clients with financial advice including dealing in securities and advising on self-managed superannuation funds.
In May 2021, Hopkins was convicted of 15 dishonesty offences and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.
The corporate regulator found that between October 2016 and October 2019, Hopkins made 167 unauthorised transfers, impacting 13 clients, totalling $2,938,750; used the stolen funds for personal purposes; and made false representations to third parties regarding the nature of the unauthorised transfers to conceal his dishonest conduct and avoid detection.
ASIC found Hopkins took advantage of the trust placed in him by his clients and determined a permanent banning of Hopkins was appropriate because of the seriousness of the misconduct and the need to prevent future harm to financial consumers.
Hopkins had the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.
Hopkins’ banning would be recorded on ASIC’s publicly available Financial Advisers Register and the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register.
ASIC’s investigation into Hopkins and QWL started in 2019 in response to allegations that QWL had failed to assist the Australian Financial Complaints Authority in resolving client complaints.