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David McEwen flees New Zealand as Stockfox loses license

David McEwen, a former Auckland investment advisor, left New Zealand amid an investigation by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), according to RNZ.

The FMA banned McEwen and revoked the license of his firm, Stockfox Limited. McEwen does not plan to return to New Zealand and has family ties in Australia and Japan. The FMA deemed McEwen “not a fit and proper person” and found Stockfox incapable of performing its financial services effectively.

McEwen failed to provide necessary documents and information and did not respond to the FMA’s proposals to cancel Stockfox’s license or issue a permanent stop order. The FMA stated that McEwen’s conduct likely harmed clients and damaged trust in the financial advice industry.

McEwen, a former business journalist, founded Stockfox and directed McEwen & Associates. He was banned for making inaccurate statements about holding shares for investors and sending unsubstantiated claims about the value of shares and assets. The banning order prohibited him from offering various investment services. Investigations by the FMA are ongoing.

New Zealand’s FMA cancels Stockfox’s FAP license

Today, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), New Zealand’s financial watchdog, canceled Stockfox’s Financial Advice Provider (FAP) license.

The regulator decided to end Stockfox’s authorization because, according to the agency, the financial adviser no longer meets key requirements for a market services license under the Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMC Act).

New Zealand’s regulatory authority argues that Stockfox’s director, David McEwan is “not a fit and proper person” and had already previously ordered a permanent stop, in December 2023, after finding Stockfox distributed false and misleading marketing with unsubstantiated claims as to the products offered to investors, including convertible note agreements, shares, and options to acquire units in limited partnership agreements.

Peter Taylor, FMA Director of Specialist Supervision and Response, said: “Mr McEwen has failed to meet the standards and obligations expected of a licensed Financial Advice Provider. His conduct has potentially caused harm to his clients and breached their trust. Such conduct erodes the public’s confidence in the financial advice industry.

“The FMA considers it is necessary to cancel Stockfox’s license to promote confident and informed participation in the financial markets, facilitate the development of fair, efficient, and transparent markets, ensure appropriate governance arrangements apply to financial products and services, and protect investors.”

The FMA’s reasons include:

  • David McEwen, as Stockfox’s sole director and its only financial adviser, is not a fit and proper person
  • Stockfox is not capable of effectively performing a financial service
  • Stockfox is likely to breach its market services licensee obligations
  • The FMA issued Mr McEwen, and entities associated with him (Associates), a permanent stop order in December 2023. The FMA issued the stop order because it was satisfied McEwen and Associates had distributed communications that were false or misleading, contained material misdescription or error, and/or did not comply with the FMC Act because they made unsubstantiated claims as to the value of McEwen and Associates financial products offered to investors. The financial products in question included Convertible Note Agreements, shares and Options to Acquire Units in Limited Partnership Agreements.

According to the agency, McEwen said he is unable to conduct regular business activities and has not responded to FMA requests directed to entities within his control for documents and information. He failed to respond to the FMA’s requests.

Stockfox had 20 days to notify clients and assist them in making arrangements to transfer their business to another FAP, as well as to allow for an orderly disposal or wind-down of the Stockfox financial advice business.

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