Director banned for promoting illegal early release of super
Gold Coast-based director Darren Thomas Edden-Brown has been banned by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for eight years from providing financial services and engaging in credit activity.
He was also banned from controlling, or performing any functions as an officer of, an entity that carries on a financial services business or engages in credit activities.
ASIC found that Edden-Brown, who operated a business under the brand ‘Enigma’ which offered to help consumers to buy a home, had told consumers who did not meet the conditions for early release of super that they could access their super early to buy a home or pay personal debts.
It was also found that he had assisted consumers who did not meet the conditions for early release to access their super early to repay personal debts.
Edden-Brown was the sole director and shareholder of Edden Brown Holdings Pty Ltd, the corporate trustee for the Enigma Corporation Trust and the Equitibanx Australian Trust.
From 2019 to 2021, he was also a director and ultimate shareholder of licensees, Consolidated Mercantile Group Ltd (CMG), Wentworth Financial Services Pty Ltd, and Search Finance Pty Ltd.
In July 2022, Albert Christen Walters, CMG’s responsible manager, had been banned for four years for failing to monitor and oversee CMG’s business and failing to address concerns raised by ASIC.
Meanwhile, Wentworth Financial Services Pty Ltd applied to voluntarily cancel its AFS licence and it was cancelled on 8 November 2022.
ASIC found that Edden-Brown was responsible for representations on company websites, including that Enigma Corporation, Equitibanx and CMG were licenced or authorised to provide certain financial products and services, when they were not.
The regulator had raised these concerns in December 2020, but Edden-Brown failed to remove the statements until seven months later.
As a result of this conduct, Edden-Brown was deemed not fit and proper, and not adequately trained or competent, to participate in the financial services and credit industries.
He would have the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.