The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal) has reduced the banning period for former mortgage broker, Michael Wilkins, from three years to 18 months.
Mr Wilkins of Watanobbi, NSW, was banned by ASIC, from providing financial services for three years on 31 January 2018 (18-027MR).
The ASIC delegate had found that Mr Wilkins had acted dishonestly and/or improperly towards clients by completing loan application forms on behalf of clients, having clients sign incomplete forms, and hiding from Westpac that the loans were for self-managed superannuation funds.
The ASIC delegate found that Mr Wilkins had put information in the loan applications submitted to Westpac that was ‘false in a material particular’, and that on five occasions in June and July 2010, Mr Wilkins submitted loan applications on behalf of clients in which he deliberately overstated their savings by between approximately $130,000 and $179,000.
Mr Wilkins sought a review of ASIC’s decision in the Tribunal and a decision was delivered on 22 August 2019. The Tribunal accepted ASIC’s contention that the applicant had put information that was ‘false in a material particular’ in loan documents submitted to Westpac but found that there was insufficient evidence to make a finding of dishonesty in relation to client forms or the nature of the loans. For this reason, the Tribunal concluded that a shorter banning order was justified.
When deciding that an 18-month banning order was appropriate, the Tribunal stated ‘the declarations of accuracy and completeness required in standard form loan applications of major financial institutions (and other credit providers) may appear formulaic and routine. But they mean what they say. Any significant failure to appreciate that reality, and to observe the requirement of scrupulous honesty underlying it, is likely to merit the sanction of a banning order. That sanction is appropriate in Mr Wilkins’ circumstances.’
A copy of the Tribunal’s decision and reasons for decision can be found here.