ASIC has banned financial services adviser Antonio Simeone for five years for misdirecting clients.
Mr Simeone is the current director, authorised representative, key person, and responsible manager of Simeone Pty Ltd (Simeone).
He is also a director of Administrative Incentivised Management Systems Pty Ltd (ACN 603 650 139) (AIMS), a company which Mr Simeone recommended his clients invest in and borrow money from.
According to ASIC, Mr Simeone allegedly recommended that clients who were under financial pressure roll over their APRA-regulated super fund to an SMSF and invest in AIMS.
“Mr Simeone then allowed the clients to borrow some of what was invested in AIMS, on the understanding there was no obligation to repay what was lent,” ASIC stated.
ASIC claims that Mr Simeone’s clients relied on his advice and assumed that the investing of superannuation in AIMS, and the receipt of loans from AIMS, were legally permissible and appropriate.
“The strategy Mr Simeone recommended to, facilitated for, and allowed for his clients, resulted in his clients breaching the restrictions on the early release of superannuation benefits, and their SMSF not satisfying the requirement that it meet the sole purpose test,” it said.
“Mr Simeone’s conduct demonstrated he was not adequately trained or competent, was not a fit and proper person, and was likely to contravene a financial services law in the future.”
The ban prevents Mr Simeone from providing any financial services and from being involved (including as an officer, manager, employee, contractor or in some other capacity) in managing, supervising, or auditing the provision of a financial service and the provision of training about a financial service or a financial product.
In addition to banning Mr Simeone from providing financial services for five years, ASIC has cancelled the Australian Financial Services Licence of Simeone Pty Ltd.
Pending an application to appeal the banning order to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), as well as an application for orders staying the operation of the ban and to keep the ban and the appeal against it confidential, ASIC was unable to publicise Mr Simeone’s banning, the corporate regulator noted.
On 28 June 2022, the AAT ordered that there should be no stay and that neither the ban nor the appeal should be confidential.
ASIC’s decision to ban Mr Simeone remains under review at the AAT.