Unlicensed CFD trader banned from providing financial services for 10 years

Mark Jennings, from Sunshine Coast, Queensland, has been banned from providing financial services and operating a financial services business for 10 years after he advertised guaranteed returns on investments and traded contracts for difference (CFDs) using client funds when it was not authorized.

Mr Jennings, the former director of Suncoast Trading Pty Ltd (in liquidation) which collapsed after suffering significant losses trading clients’ money, later announced as Equity Trade that he could earn ‘50%, 100% or 200% per year GUARANTEED RETURNS*’.

The Equity Trade website also stated that “[o]Our investments are recession proof, we profit from both rising and falling markets”.

Suncoast Trading, Equity Trade and Mr. Jennings did not hold the necessary Australian license or authorization to provide financial services.

The ASIC delegate noted that Mr. Jennings:

  • operated a financial services business without holding an AFS license;
  • some clients deposited their funds in his personal trading account and traded CFDs without consulting them;
  • made false or misleading statements, as returns were not guaranteed and there was no genuine basis for asserting that the trades would be profitable in both rising and falling markets;
  • provided false or misleading information to ASIC about the number of Equity Trade clients and the extent of losses incurred;
  • is not sufficiently trained or competent to provide financial services; and
  • is likely to violate a financial services law.

The prohibition prevents Mr. Jennings from providing any financial service, controlling an entity that operates a financial services business and performing any function involved in operating a financial services business.

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

Mr. Jennings’ ban is recorded on ASIC’s bans and disqualifications registry.

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