A Victorian man has been convicted of operating a financial services business without a licence, in relation to a scheme to illegally access superannuation early.
Mr Grant Thorsby Ross, also known as David Thorsby Ross, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to one count of operating a financial services business without a licence and was convicted and fined $6,000, according to ASIC.
“The offence related to a scheme promoted and operated by Mr Ross that facilitated the illegal early release of superannuation funds of his clients through the creation of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs),” said a statement by ASIC.
“Three breaches of the prohibition against engaging in credit activities without a licence relating to loans arranged by Mr Ross for clients in connection with the scheme were also taken into account in sentencing.”
ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said: “Mr Ross exploited the trust he instilled in clients by promoting and operating an illegal scheme that exposed his clients to potential legal and financial risk. Consumers are urged to deal only with licensed representatives of the financial services and credit industries.”
ASIC said that Mr Ross places newspaper adverts, between 1 July 2010 and 13 November 2012, in Victoria and South Australia offering loans dependant upon future superannuation entitlements.
“A ’round robin’ scheme was operated by Mr Ross whereby his clients transferred their superannuation funds into newly created SMSFs. The SMSFs lent funds to Mr Ross’ company and then an amount, less a fee, was loaned by either Mr Ross’ company or personally by Mr Ross back to the trustees of the SMSF in their personal capacity,” said ASIC.
“Mr Ross has never been granted an Australian Financial Services licence or an Australian Credit Licence and has never been an authorised representative of a licensee.”
ASIC’s investigation followed from a report lodged by the ATO.
Consumers are able to check the licences of financial services and credit providers through the ASIC website.