Australian regulator takes away AFS licence of Australasia Wealth Services and Management

Maria Nikolova

AWSM breached its financial reporting and audit obligations, as well as the requirement to obtain membership of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today announces that it has cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of Sydney-based financial services provider Australasia Wealth Services and Management Pty Ltd (AWSM).

This follows a licence suspension by ASIC for AWSM’s failure to comply with its obligations as an AFS licence holder. AWSM breached its financial reporting and audit obligations, as well as the requirement to become a member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). ASIC suspended AWSM’s AFS licence from March 25, 2019 to June 25, 2019 allowing time for AWSM to demonstrate that it had complied with all of its general licensee obligations.

At the end of the suspension period information provided to ASIC by AWSM has indicated that AWSM would not be able to meet its obligations as an AFS licensee because of its financial position.

To reduce any adverse impact on clients, AWSM is required to maintain their Professional Indemnity Insurance and their dispute resolution system until end-December 2019 despite the cancellation.

Earlier this year, ASIC said it had cancelled the AFS licences of two financial services providers due to their failure to become members of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) scheme. The businesses whose licenses got taken away are both NSW-based. Sydney Business Accounting’s licence cancellation took effect on February 14, 2019, and A G Calleia & Co’s licence was cancelled on February 15, 2019.

AFCA, the new one-stop financial services dispute resolution scheme, opened for business on November 1, 2018 replacing the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT). All AFS licensees, Australian credit licensees, superannuation trustees and other financial firms that provide services to retail clients were required to become members of AFCA by September 21, 2018.

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