Post: Unlicensed CFD trader banned from providing financial services for 10 years

Mark Jennings, of Sunshine Coast, Queensland, has been banned from providing financial services and carrying on a financial services business for 10 years after he advertised guaranteed investment returns and traded Contracts for Difference (CFDs) using client funds when he was not licensed.

Mr Jennings, the former director of Suncoast Trading Pty Ltd (in liquidation) which collapsed after suffering significant losses trading client monies, subsequently advertised under the name Equity Trade that he could make ‘50%, 100% or 200% per year GUARANTEED RETURNS*’.

The Equity Trade website also stated that ‘[o]ur investments are recession proof, we profit in both rising and falling markets’.

Suncoast Trading, Equity Trade and Mr Jennings did not hold the necessary Australian Financial Services licence or authorisation to provide financial services.

The ASIC delegate found that Mr Jennings:

carried on a financial services business without holding an AFS licence;
had some clients deposit their funds into his personal trading account and traded CFDs without consulting them;
made false or misleading statements as the returns were not guaranteed and there was no genuine basis to make the statement that the trades would be profitable in both rising and falling markets;
gave false or misleading information to ASIC about the number of Equity Trade’s clients and the extent of losses suffered;
is not adequately trained or competent to provide financial services; and
is likely to contravene a financial services law.
The ban prevents Mr Jennings from providing any financial service, controlling an entity that carries on a financial services business and performing any function involved in carrying on a financial services business.

Mr Jennings has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

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