The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has permanently banned Anthony Wynd, former director and responsible manager of Financial Circle, from providing financial services.
In November 2018, Mr Wynd was ordered to pay just under $9 million in penalties, after the Federal Court found that he had contravened financial services, credit and consumer protection laws.
Financial Circle was found to have offered personal loans to consumers of up to $5,000 that could only be obtained if the consumer agreed to receive and implement financial advice, which typically recommended purchasing personal insurance products and switching superannuation providers.
After implementing the advice, “significant advice fees” were found to have been paid to Financial Circle directly from the consumer’s superannuation. Financial Circle also received ongoing commission payments from the insurers, with the process resulting in a “substantial erosion” of up to 30 per cent of the client’s superannuation balances.
The court found that, in conducting this business, Financial Circle:
- made false and misleading representations and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct;
- engaged in unconscionable conduct; and
- breached its licensee obligations under its Australian Financial Services Licence.
The Federal Court also ordered that it be permanently restrained from:
- carrying on a financial services business; and
- providing credit or entering into a credit contract as a credit provider.
The company was also ordered to pay ASIC’s costs.
In light of the court’s judgement, ASIC determined that a permanent ban from the provision of financial services was “appropriate”, given Mr Wynd’s position at Financial Circle, his connection to the misconduct, the severity of that misconduct, and “the likelihood that Mr Wynd would contravene a financial services law in the future”.
Mr Wynd initially applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision but withdrew his application in May 2020.