Australian regulator seeks to wind up unregistered managed investment scheme run by Chris Marco

Maria Nikolova

ASIC requests Court orders to wind up an alleged unregistered managed investment scheme, and a related company called AMS, operated by Chris Marco.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) today announces that it has filed an application with the the Federal Court in Western Australia seeking leave to apply for orders to wind up an alleged unregistered managed investment scheme, and a related company, operated by Chris Marco.

The regulator is also seeking declarations that Mr Marco failed to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) whilst carrying on a financial services business.

The application is filed in the matter against:

  • Mr Chris Marco, who traded as Coastline Group;
  • AMS Holdings (WA) Pty Ltd (AMS); and
  • AMS Holdings in its capacity as Trustee of AMS Holdings Trust.

ASIC alleges Mr Marco has been raising funds from investors since January 2010, in contravention of section 911A (the requirement to hold an AFSL) and section 601ED (the requirement to register a scheme meeting certain criteria) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Inter alia, ASIC requests interim orders to appoint a receiver over Mr Marco’s and AMS’s assets and, by way of final relief, orders to wind up the scheme and AMS.

In total, Mr Marco received approximately $240 million from 132 investors. Mr Marco falsely promised investors that there was a guarantee that their principal investment was secured. ASIC will allege that there is a very significant shortfall in the assets available to operate the scheme into the future.

ASIC’s investigation into other aspects of the alleged conduct of Mr Marco and AMS is ongoing. The first case management hearing is scheduled for December 17, 2019.

On November 1, 2018, the regulator obtained asset preservation orders over the assets held by Mr Marco and AMS. Since the orders were made, Mr Marco has made numerous applications to vary the asset preservation orders permitting Mr Marco to pay expenses incurred by AMS.

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