​Banned adviser sued for $850,000

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An adviser who was banned for three years by ASIC for misconduct is now being sued by an eminent Australian fashion designer for allegedly failing to return invested funds.

Fashion designer Lisa Ho is suing her former friend Hamish McLaren in the Federal Court of Australia for $850,000 after she was promised a return that never eventuated.

McLaren – also known as Hamish Watson – has not yet filed a defence, AFR reported. He is accused of falsely suggesting he had skill and expertise in financial investment and would make a significant return on the money.

ASIC banned McLaren from acting as an investment adviser, dealer, futures adviser or broker for three years in 2003, for doing ‘wash sales’ or ‘matching orders’, where a person is both buyer and seller in the same transaction and there is no beneficial change in ownership. 

McLaren, 29 years old at the time, was caught creating activity in shares in the now-collapsed listed investment company Harts Australasia by placing matching sell and buy orders. He also managed $5 million in a registered fund on behalf of Harts, claiming the funds were invested in blue-chip stocks – which was discovered to be untrue.  

Instead, ASIC found he had used part of the cash to buy a Ferrari 360 Modena F1 and to pay off leases on a Ferrari 360 Modena, a Ferrari Spider Riviera convertible, a Riviera Cruiser motorboat and a Dodge four-wheel drive.

In 2011, Ho lent McLaren money from her super fund in three instalments – $250,000 on September 19, 2011, $300,000 on October 11, 2011, and $300,000 on November 4, 2011 – after McLaren allegedly promised an 18% return on the funds, reported AFR.

In November 2012 and again in April 2013, Ho demanded her money back from McLaren as no returns had been realised. In June and August last year Ho received just under $200,000, but AFR said the remaining $650,000 is still unaccounted for.


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