The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced this Monday that it has banned the previous joint Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Australian Mutual Holdings Limited, Jeffrey Worboys and Matthew Barnett, from providing financial services for six years.
Interestingly, the former CEOs of Australian Mutual are also linked with Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd. According to LinkedIn, Jeffrey Worboys is the current CEO of Halifax Group, and Matthew Barnett is a director.
For those not aware, Halifax was an Australian investment management company headquartered in Sydney. It also has a partially-owned subsidiary in New Zealand. As Finance Magnates reported in November, the firm has gone into administration.
Australian Mutual Holdings Limited is an Australian financial services (AFS) license holder. The company operates managed investment schemes, according to the regulator. Until February of 2018, Worboys and Barnett were the co-CEOs of the firm. After this, Worboys remained as the sole CEO of the company.
One of the investment schemes Australian Mutual managed was Courtenay House Capital Investment Fund, a foreign exchange (forex) and commodities fund. The Australian regulator conducted a separate investigation regarding Courtenay House, which is now being liquidated.
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In May of last year, the Supreme Court of NSW made orders to wind up Courtenay House Capital Trading Group Pty Ltd and Courtenay House Pty Ltd (Courtenay House companies), as Finance Magnates reported. The court also appointed Said Jahani and John McInerney, of Grant Thornton, as joint liquidators to both companies.
Worboys and Barnett Lacked Integrity, ASIC Finds
In ASIC’s current investigation, it found that: “when establishing the Courtenay House Capital Investment Fund, Mr Worboys and Mr Barnett did not exercise the degree of care and diligence required and failed to act in the best interest of the members of the fund.”
“This included a failure to ensure that the persons responsible for trading funds had the requisite qualifications and experience to manage a foreign exchange and derivatives fund.”
Overall, the watchdog states that Worboys and Barnett didn’t maintain the standards expected of a financial services adviser, demonstrated lack of integrity and judgment, weren’t reliable and were likely to contravene financial services law.
Although the Aussie regulator has put the bans in place, Worboys and Barnett can appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review.