3. August 2011 09:09
ASIC has permanently banned a Sydney director from providing financial services after an investigation found she had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.
Erin Watson, of Woolooware, New South Wales, was banned for operating a financial services business without holding an Australian financial services (AFS) licence.
Ms Watson was a director of Home Equity Pty Ltd and remains a director of a number of companies including, but not limited to, Home Mortgages Australia Pty Ltd and Credit Pty Ltd.
Between March 2007 and February 2008 neither Ms Watson nor the aforementioned companies held an AFS licence, nor was she an authorised representative of an AFS licensee. However during this period Ms Watson met with potential investors, dealt with clients and signed agreements entered into by Home Mortgages Australia.
ASIC’s investigation also found Ms Watson engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive by:
- representing to clients that they would be investing in a large experienced overseas company based in Hong Kong known as US Mortgage Giant
- representing to clients that US Mortgage Giant invests in property and finance
- representing to clients that investments were ‘watertight’, and
- lodging documents with ASIC that US Mortgage Giant was a legal entity and a significant shareholder of Home Mortgages Australia and a number of associated companies.
In addition, ASIC found that from September 2006 to March 2008 Ms Watson used clients’ monies to pay her home loan, family members, clients of Home Equity and companies associated with Home Equity.
ASIC banned Ms Watson in order to protect the public, deter similar conduct and maintain investor and consumer confidence in the financial services industry.
Ms Watson has the right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.