ASIC bans former mortgage funder

A former Sydney mortgage funder has been banned by ASIC for two years for failing to comply with financial services laws.

John Sweeney was a non-executive director of Provident Capital from 30 July 2008 to 7 May 2014. Provident Capital went into receivership on 3 July 2012 and into liquidation on 24 October 2012.

ASIC suspended Provident Capital’s Australian Financial Services Licence on 15 October 2012.

The regulator’s investigation found Mr Sweeney engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to a financial product.

This specifically related to his conduct from September 2010 to March 2012 when he approved Provident Capital’s quarterly reports and benchmark reports issued to ASIC and Australian Executor Trustees Limited.

“ASIC and the community expect directors of companies to behave in a manner appropriate to their position,” ASIC commissioner John Price said.

On 20 February 2015, ASIC banned the managing director of Provident Capital Limited, Mr Michael Roger O’Sullivan of Sydney, from managing corporations for five years and from providing financial services for seven years. Mr O’Sullivan has sought a review of ASIC’s decision in the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Provident Capital issued debentures to retail investors through their fixed-term investment portfolio and advanced the debenture funds to third-party borrowers, including property developers, on a first mortgage basis.

Provident Capital also operated a mortgage fund under a wholesale facility with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and two managed investment schemes.

On 29 June 2012, on an application by the Australian Executor Trustees Limited – the trustee for Provident debenture holders – the court ordered that receivers be appointed to Provident. ASIC appeared as a ‘friend of the court’ in these proceedings.

When Provident Capital went into liquidation on 24 October 2012, over 3,000 of its debenture holders were owed approximately $130 million.

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