ASIC secures Court orders freezing bank accounts of Berndale Capital Securities, Stavro D’Amore

Maria Nikolova

The Court issued orders against Berndale Capital Securities, its associated entities, and Stavro D’Amore, freezing their bank accounts and preventing them from selling or otherwise dealing with their property.

Less than a month after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) cancelled the AFS license of retail OTC derivative issuer Berndale Capital Securities Pty Ltd and banned Berndale’s ex-director Stavro D’Amore, the Australian regulator has managed to obtain freezing orders against the company and its former director.

ASIC today announced it had obtained orders from the Federal Court against Berndale Capital Securities, its associated entities, and Stavro D’Amore, freezing their bank accounts and preventing them from selling or otherwise dealing with their property without ASIC’s consent.

The regulator suspects that Berndale and D’Amore may have breached client money obligations, and contravened other laws. Berndale was a retail OTC derivative issuer and its Australian Financial Services licence was cancelled on November 22, 2018. At the same time, Mr D’Amore was banned from providing financial services for a period of six years.

Berndale and ASIC appeared before Justice O’Callaghan in the Federal Court in Melbourne on December 19, 2018, following ASIC’s initial application and interim orders.

The matter is next before the Federal Court on a date to be fixed in February 2019.

Let’s recall that ASIC found that Berndale:

  • failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that its representative complied with financial services laws;
  • failed to have adequate financial and human resources;
  • failed to maintain an appropriate internal dispute resolution system;
  • failed to provide financial services efficiently, honestly and fairly;
  • failed to comply with the client money reporting requirements;
  • failed to lodge annual financial statements, and audit reports; and
  • is likely to contravene its general obligations as an AFS licensee.

ASIC also found Mr D’Amore:

  • was involved in contraventions of financial services laws by Berndale;
  • is not adequately trained, or is not competent, to provide financial services; and
  • is likely to contravene a financial services law.

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