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ASIC takes action in mortgage industry

ASIC has cancelled a Victoria-based financial firm’s licences after it failed to lodge its accounts and appoint a new ‘key person’.

The Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) and the Australian Credit Licence (ACL) of Mortgage and General Financial Services Pty Ltd (Mortgage and General) have both been terminated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). 

The regulator stated that the business had “failed to demonstrate that it had the competence and resources to provide financial services and credit activities as required under its licences”. 

It also failed to appoint a ‘key person’ following the death of the individual originally appointed, which violated the terms of both licences.

Furthermore, Mortgage and General did not lodge its accounts under AFSL for the financial years ending 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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“AFSL holders must lodge their financial statements and auditor’s reports annually to demonstrate that they have adequate financial resources to provide the services covered by their licence and to conduct their business lawfully,” according to the regulator.

ASIC highlighted that, under the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 and National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, respectively, it “may suspend or cancel an AFSL or an ACL if the licensee fails to meet their obligations”.

Mortgage and General held an AFSL since 1 March 2004 and an ACL since 7 January 2011.

ASIC has stated the business may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of ASIC’s decision, should they so wish.

This week, the financial services regulator also progressed in its case against the former director of Melbourne-based brokerage Advanced Choice Finance Pty Ltd (ACF).

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The former director has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting ACF in making a false statement in a credit licence annual compliance certificate lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

In January 2017, Ding (Tim) Yang, who was the sole person and responsible manager on ACF’s credit licence, allegedly falsely stated in the annual compliance certificate that none of ACF’s fit and proper people had their accreditation cancelled by a lender or their membership with an aggregator terminated. 

However, ASIC investigations found that Mr Yang’s lender accreditation was terminated by the Bank of Melbourne in July 2012, and both his and ACF’s membership were terminated by his aggregation company, Connective OSN Pty Ltd, in April 2016.

As such, ACF has been charged with one count of knowingly making a false statement in a credit licence annual compliance certificate, to which Mr Yang has now pleaded guilty.

Sentencing is scheduled to take place at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 13 April 2021. 

[Related: Former brokerage, director charged over false statement]

ASIC takes action in mortgage industry
ASIC takes action in mortgage industry
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