The visionary statements of its Chair, Mr James Shipton, to the Parliamentary Joint Committee – Corporations and Financial Services set a powerful context for ASIC’s success this week in the Federal Court of Australia.
The Court has found that AGM Markets Pty Ltd, OT Markets Pty Ltd and Ozfin Tech Pty Ltd engaged in systemic unconscionable conduct in providing over the counter derivative products to retail investors in Australia. Those companies had used overseas account managers to provide personal advice to clients even though the companies were not licensed to do so. Often that advice was not in the clients’ best interests and underpinned by false and misleading statements.
The Court’s findings extended to breaches of AGM Markets’ licence obligations to provide financial advice efficiently, honestly and fairly.
The Court is yet to determine the penalties, but they are likely to be harsh bearing in mind Australian investors’ losses exceed $30 million.
While a number of Mr Shipton’s statements are introspective, he confirmed the deployment of greater legal, accounting and analytical resources to respond to the conduct of companies such as AGM Markets and hold them and their management accountable for their conduct.
ASIC is likely to enjoy more successes.