ASIC sues financial advisor over $1.4M loan scam
Financial Services July 3, 2018 9:55 pm By Miklos Bolza | Sydney

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has taken Queensland firm Refocus Financial Group to court for allegedly co-opting over $1.4 million in client loans for personal and business use.

The case, filed in the Queensland Supreme Court on June 29, was also brought against the owner principal of Refocus, Brett Gordon, related firm Consultia Super, and Heather Swift, Gordon’s partner and director of Consultia.

ASIC alleges Gordon and Refocus, as authorised representatives of Solar Financial Advisory, recommended clients establish self-managed superannuation funds and advance unsecured loans to Diverse Capital Management to invest in property development. Diverse was placed into liquidation on May 18.

At least 10 clients loaned $1.4 million to Diverse, which Gordon and Swift for used for personal matters as working capital for Refocus, ASIC alleges. The regulator also claims Gordon continues to offer financial services without a licence.

Further unsecured loan arrangements have also been made, borrowing funds from Refocus’ SMSF clients, ASIC claims. All loans are currently outstanding.

ASIC is seeking to wind up both Refocus and Consultia through the appointment of a provisional liquidator. It is also seeking to restrain Gordon and Swift from dealing with their assets and an order banning Gordon from providing further financial services.

The ongoing investigation into Refocus was sparked by Solar, which became aware of Gordon’s conduct, terminated Refocus’ and Gordon’s positions as authorised representatives, and reported them to ASIC.

The matter will be heard at a directions hearing in the Queensland Supreme Court on July 11.

ASIC will be using its own in-house legal counsel for the proceedings.

Lawyerly has reached out to Refocus and Gordon for comment.

The case is Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Refocus Financial Group Pty Ltd ACN 162 369 664 & others.

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Miklos Bolza

Miklos Bolza has been a journalist for three years. He has written for a variety of publications, including NZ Lawyer, HRD Australia, and Australian Broker. He is currently the Sydney court reporter for Lawyerly.