A Perth-based accountant has been banned from providing any financial services for six years, after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found that he both contravened and was likely to again contravene a financial services law.
A subsequent appeal by Bowker to the Adminstrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) saw the ASIC banning reduced to a period to two years with the appeal decision being announced on 6 March, 2020.
The regulator’s investigation into Keith Douglas Bowker focused on his conduct from November 2016 – March 2017, when he applied for and sold shares, purportedly for his clients, in two companies that later listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
ASIC came across the behaviour when looking into the provision of shareholder spread through artificial means, as some companies could seek to get around the ASX Listing Rules requirement of having 300 shareholders.
The regulator found that Bowker:
- applied for and sold shares on behalf of other people without their knowledge and/or consent;
- knowingly provided false information to these companies which was then provided to the ASX so that the companies could meet the ASX minimum-spread requirement for admission to the ASX official list;
- engaged in conduct relating to a financial product that was misleading or deceptive, or was likely to mislead or deceive;
- contravened a financial services law; and
- was likely to contravene a financial services law.