Accountant banned for six years

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ASIC has banned accountant Nicholas James Ellis, of Valentine NSW, from providing financial services for six years following an ASIC investigation.

ASIC found that between 2nd March 2009 to 29th June 2010 Ellis:

  • made dishonest statements to a client about where their money was to be invested
  • failed to invest $200,000 he received from a client, instead using it for his own advantage including paying credit card debts and purchasing personal assets
  • engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to statements made in client letters.

The money used by Ellis was transferred from an elderly client’s self-managed superannuation fund, according to ASIC.

Ellis is a director of a number of companies based in Newcastle including 2020 Financial Solutions Pty Ltd and 2020 Accountancy Solutions Pty Ltd (formerly Ellis Business Accountants Pty Ltd). At the time of the conduct Ellis and 2020 Financial Solutions Pty Ltd were authorised representatives of an Australian financial services licensee.

ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, "ASIC will take action to protect self-managed superannuation funds by ensuring they are not accessed and abused by unscrupulous operators like Mr Ellis.

"Those who blatantly disregard their obligations as a financial service provider will be removed from the industry. Banning orders such as this are designed to maintain confidence in the financial services industry, particularly the self-managed super fund space," Tanzer said.

Ellis has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.

  • Colin Peterson CFP on 4/04/2013 10:41:59 AM

    Well, talk about being smashed around the head with a feather - this guy should go to jail. I wonder what the punishment would be if he stole those funds from the ATO or a major bank? I'm guessing he would be given a bed courtesy of her majesty for a considerable period. Not good enough ASIC - a Ban for life would have been more appropriate. We have become far too lenient on people who steal and embezzle and in the process ruin other peoples lives.

  • Pat on 4/04/2013 9:03:01 AM

    Peter, get a grip.

    What about the exorbitant fees charged on public offer superannuation funds that are fully APRA endorsed - how much have they cost superannuation members over the years?

    I wonder how much your good mates at Astarra charged clients - I can tell you that two of my clients who happened to be in the Aust share Astarra super plan were charged an MER of 2.87% p.a.

    What you don't seem to understand is that SMSF trustees have a number of provisions for remedy in cases like this. I really don't think Part 23 of SISA would have protected the client in this case if she/he was in an APRA fund.

  • Jon Dixon on 3/04/2013 4:58:46 PM

    This is bloody disgraceful !
    I just wish the public would hear that solicitors and accountants can aslo be crooks !! Seems like only financial advisers get tha tag.

  • Peter Johnston - AIOFP on 3/04/2013 4:33:49 PM

    Well what a surprise, people taking advantage of SMSF structures where the Minister has been encouraging consumers to invest outside of his 'flag' warnings with APRA regulation. This and the $30 million SMSF direct property failure in Brisbane is just the beginning!

  • Bill Taylor on 3/04/2013 3:50:31 PM

    It would be interesting to know whether criminal charges are being laid as well as the bans and whether the funds were recouped.

  • Innocent Observer on 3/04/2013 3:29:59 PM

    A quick look on the ABN registry shows that Ellis Business Accountants (2020 Accountancy) was registered in March 2000 (& 2020 Financial Solutions in Jan 2003). ...So here's a guy that we're supposed to believe ran a completely legit accounting practice for 9 years before he decided to go rogue? ...just saying

  • mark on 3/04/2013 2:49:44 PM

    I guess he can still practice as a tax agent and accountant as ASIC has no influence over these areas.

  • Fred Smith on 3/04/2013 2:40:03 PM

    Should he not have been banned for life, and imprisoned for such blatant acts of fraud?

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