ASIC has permanently banned a Queensland-based financial adviser and cancelled the AFSL of Financial Options Pty Ltd.
William John Henry Houwing (known as Jack Houwing) was a director and authorised representative of Financial Options.
ASIC found that between 31 August 2006 and 15 May 2019, Mr Houwing arranged for clients to lend money to his related entities.
Those entities included Belbrooke Pty Ltd as trustee for the Belbrooke Administration Trust; Belbrooke Pty Ltd as trustee for the Belbrooke Mortgage Trust; and Ochkit Pty Ltd as trustee for the Houwing Family Trust.
ASIC found that Mr Houwing:
- failed to act in the best interests of his clients by recommending that they allow their self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) to lend money to his related entities, particularly in circumstances where he failed to recommend that they obtain their own independent advice;
- arranged loans from clients for his own use, and in some cases, benefited when he failed to repay the loans on time;
- had a conflict of interest as both a financial adviser and the recipient of the loans, and failed to prioritise the interests of his clients over his own interests;
- is not adequately trained or competent to provide financial services; and
- is not of good fame or character.
“The failure of financial advisers to act in the best of interests of their clients or to prioritise their clients’ interests over their own not only harms their clients but also erodes public trust in the financial system,” said ASIC commissioner Danielle Press.
“ASIC expects financial advisers to uphold the values of integrity and professionalism.”
Mr Houwing and Financial Options have the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
[Related: ASIC releases draft BID guidance]