Australian Watchdog ASIC Cancels AFS Licence of Financial Options

The Australian regulator ASIC cancels the AFS licence of Financial Options and permanently bans its adviser Mr. William John Henry Houwing (Jack Houwing). ASIC found that between August 31, 2006, and May 15, 2019, Mr. Houwing arranged for his clients to lend money to its related entities.

26 February, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – The Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence of Financial Options Pty Ltd was suspended in August last year. Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) announced on Tuesday that it has now canceled the Financial Options AFS Licence.

Why Did ASIC Cancel the AFS Licence of Financial Options?

Financial Options, a Queensland-based financial services provider, has had its licence suspended because the company has failed to meet its AFS licence requirements.

When the licence was suspended, ASIC declared that Financial Options had not filed its accounts and audit report for the year ending June 2018. It had not put in place a dispute resolution system. Moreover, it did not maintain the organizational skills or resources necessary to provide the financial services covered by its licence.

Today, the regulator revealed that the company did not comply with its financial requirements. It did not take the measures necessary to respond to ASIC's concerns regarding organizational competence, human resources and compliance requirements. All this led to the cancellation of the licence.

Read More: ASIC Cancelled KP International Group AFS License

Permanent Ban on Jack Houwing from Providing Financial Services

Also today, ASIC announced a permanent ban on William John Henry Houwing (known as Jack Houwing) from providing financial services. Mr. Houwing was the director and authorized representative of Financial Options. ASIC noted that between August 31, 2006, and May 15, 2019, Mr. Houwing arranged loans for his clients for his related entities, including:

  • Ochkit Pty Ltd as trustee of the Houwing Family Trust.
  • Belbrooke Pty Ltd as trustee of the Belbrooke Administration Trust.
  • Belbrooke Pty Ltd as trustee of the Belbrooke Mortgage Trust.

ASIC also found that Mr Houwing:

  • He has not acted in the best interest of his clients by recommending that they authorize their self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) to lend money to his related entities.
  • Obtained loans from its customers for its own use and, in some cases, took advantage of them when it did not repay the loans on time.
  • In a conflict of interest as a financial advisor and beneficiary of the loans. It did not give priority to the interests of his clients rather than his own interests.
  • Is not sufficiently trained or competent to provide financial services; and
  • He is not of a good reputation or good character.

However, Financial Options and Mr. Houwing have the right to request a review of the ASIC decision by the administrative appeal tribunal. Earlier this month, AxiCorp also appealed the decision of the ASIC to suspend its AFS license. ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press said: 

"Financial advisers did not act in the best interests of their clients or prioritize the importance of their clients rather than own. It harms not only their customers but also erodes public confidence in the financial system. ASIC also expects financial advisers to respect the values ​​of integrity and professionalism."

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