The corporate regulator has permanently banned former CEO of van Eyk Research, Mark Peter Thomas, from performing any function involved in the operation of a financial services business or credit provider, or controlling, whether alone or with others, an entity that operates a financial services business or provides credit.
The ban follows Mr Thomas’s conviction for dishonestly using his position as director of New Zealand-based, van Eyk Research subsidiary, Blueprint and engaging in dishonest conduct.
Mr Thomas was sentenced to one year and three months’ imprisonment, to be served by way of an intensive correction order, for using his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly obtaining an advantage for himself.
As part of his sentence, Mr Thomas was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service.
The corporate regulator explained in a statement on Friday that under the Corporations Act, it may permanently ban a person from the financial services industry and the credit industry if they are convicted of an offence involving serious fraud or dishonest conduct.
Mr Thomas has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.
Mr Thomas was sentenced on 14 November 2022 in the New South Wales District Court, after previously pleading guilty to breaching his directors’ duties.
At the time, ASIC said that Mr Thomas dishonestly used his position as director of New Zealand-based van Eyk Research subsidiary Blueprint Investment Management, by recommending and facilitating Blueprint investing nearly $5 million in a separate fund, the Wholesale Enhanced Income Fund.
The funds were then loaned to another company, TAA Melbourne, to purchase an interest in van Eyk Research, of which Mr Thomas was also CEO.
“By doing this, Mr Thomas used his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself,” the corporate regulator said.
“These transactions prevented a third party from gaining control of van Eyk Research, ensuring that Mr Thomas was able to remain as CEO and Chief Investment Officer of van Eyk Research.”
In sentencing Mr Thomas, Judge Bourke described his conduct as “complex and sophisticated” and noted that Mr Thomas “breached his position of trust and responsibility”.
The judge also observed that, although there was no investor loss, Mr Thomas “exposed managed funds to risk”.
Mr Thomas’ guilty plea, the loss of his career in financial services, and the fact that as a result of his conviction he will be banned from managing a corporation for five years, were taken into consideration.
Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.