ASIC bans Funds United Pty director for six years

The six-year ban will prevent Ms. Hutchinson from controlling an entity that carries on a financial services business, and performing any function within the industry.

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ASIC has banned Sharree Grace Hutchinson, Perth-based director of Funds United Pty Ltd, after she demonstrated a lack of professionalism and judgement required of a participant in the financial services industry, the regulator announced.

The ban, which will last for six years, addresses the financial watchdog’s findings that between December 2020 and January 2021, Sharree Grace Hutchinson contacted investors in the First Guardian Master Fund and suggested they roll their investments from the Chiodo Diversified Property Development Class to the Australian Opportunities Class (AOC).

Such misconducted included:

  • misused personal information about investors by contacting them when she was not in a role that allowed her to do so;
    used logos of entities without their permission which was likely to create a misleading impression that she had their authority to contact investors;
  • made misleading statements to investors about fund performance and land valuations;
  • created a document containing information relating to the AOC and distributed it to investors, giving them the impression that it had been approved by the fund’s management;
  • made misleading representations to investors about waiving her own fees if they took up the offer, in circumstances where she was not entitled to charge a fee and never charged fees to investors; and
  • made misleading representations to investors that there were only limited spots available, creating an appearance of urgency.
    Following the above conduct, Ms Hutchinson went on to become an authorised representative of an Australian Financial Service licensee, United Global Capital Pty Ltd. Between October 2021 and April 2022, she contacted two investors about potential returns by rolling over their investments, without providing meaningful comparisons of the investments. Ms Hutchinson also made representations about the need to act quickly and offered to waive her fees if the investors rolled over their investments.

The six-year ban will prevent Ms Hutchinson from controlling an entity that carries on a financial services business, and performing any function involved in the carrying on of a financial services business (including as an officer, manager, employee, contractor, or in some other capacity). The former director can still appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.