The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced that the Australian Federal Court made orders restraining Matthew Alan Beresford from continuing to operate a financial services business. According to a press release published on October 26th, Mr. Beresford has been arrested and charged.
As of October 20th, the court also froze the websites and bank accounts of Maxwell Financial Services and Asset Capital Holdings, which were reportedly founded by Beresford. Finance Feeds referred to the two companies as ‘Ponzi Schemes’, alleging that Beresford used the firms to lure unsuspecting investors with promises of eye-popping high returns.
Both Companies Offered Financial Services without the Appropriate Licensure
The decision to freeze the websites and accounts are apparently associated with allegations of fraud. According to ASIC, both of the businesses were operating without an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL). However, at least one of the companies claimed that they had been granted the license.
Indeed, ASIC reported that Maxwell Financial Services (which Mr. Beresford founded in 2019) stated that “its representatives held an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) and that the business was associated with ASIC and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).”
However, ASIC says that these claims are false, and that the firm has been operating without an AFSL. Additionally, ASIC believes that “a significant amount of money raised from retail investors has been dissipated.”
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ASIC also says that Asset Capital Holdings, which was established in September 2020, “offered financial services without holding the necessary AFSL.”
A further hearing on the case is current scheduled in the Federal Court for February 8th, 2021.
ASIC Curbed the Sale of CFDs to Retail Investors Last Week
Last week, Finance Magnates reported that ASIC made an official announcement restricting the sale of contracts for difference (CFDs) to retail clients, saying it was still concerned about investor protection.
The new rules have also mandated negative account protection, which will ensure that customers cannot lose more than their trading stake.
The mandate is intended to prevent a repeat of the debacle that followed the 2015 collapse of the Swiss Franc. The rules forbid monetary or non-monetary incentives that may have encouraged overtrading in recent years.