On Monday, ASIC announced it had banned Funds United Pty Ltd director Sharree Grace Hutchinson from providing financial services for a period of six years.
The corporate regulator said that the Perth-based director had demonstrated a lack of professionalism and judgement required of a participant in the financial services industry.
It found that Ms Hutchinson had contacted investors in the First Guardian Master Fund and suggested they roll their investments from the Chiodo Diversified Property Development Class to the Australian Opportunities Class between December 2020 and January 2021.
During the course of her misconduct, ASIC stated that Ms Hutchinson misused personal information about investors by contacting them when she was not in a role that allowed her to do so, and used the logos of entities without their permission, which it said was likely to create a misleading impression that she had their authority to contact investors.
Ms Hutchinson is also said to have made misleading statements to investors about fund performance and land valuations and to have created a document containing information relating to the Australian Opportunities Class and distributed it to investors, giving them the impression that it had been approved by the fund's management.
Furthermore, ASIC said that Ms Hutchinson had made misleading representations to investors about waiving her own fees if they took up the offer, when she was not entitled to charge a fee and never charged fees to investors, and that there were only limited spots available, creating an appearance of urgency.
After this conduct, the regulator said that Ms Hutchinson became an authorised representative of an Australian Financial Service licensee, United Global Capital Pty Ltd.
It said that she had contacted two investors about potential returns by rolling over their investments between October 2021 and April 2022 without providing meaningful comparisons of the investments and had also made representations about the need to act quickly and offered to waive her fees if the investors rolled over their investments.
“As a result of the banning, Ms Hutchinson is prohibited from controlling an entity that carries on a financial services business, and performing any function involved in the carrying on of a financial services business including as an officer, manager, employee, contractor or in some other capacity,” ASIC said.
The regulator noted that Ms Hutchinson has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of its decision.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.