ASIC has banned John Van Dieren from providing any financial services for three years, following a surveillance of independent expert reports (IERs) he produced.
Mr Van Dieren was banned on 19 June 2019. On 3 July 2019, Mr Van Dieren applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of ASIC’s decision. He also applied for a stay of both the banning order and the publication of the banning order by way of media release on the same date.
On 15 November 2019, the AAT refused a stay of the banning order and also refused a stay of the publication of the banning order by way of media release.
For the period of his banning, Mr Van Dieren cannot provide IERs, opinions or valuations in connection with corporate transactions, including takeover bids, Pt 5.1 schemes of arrangement and acquisitions approved by members.
ASIC undertook a surveillance of certain IERs prepared by Mr Van Dieren in his capacity as a director and responsible manager of Australian financial services (AFS) licensee Stantons International Securities Pty Ltd (Stantons). This included the review of underlying engagement materials for each IER.
ASIC identified concerns with Mr Van Dieren’s conduct in relation to independence, a failure to critically review and identify errors in specialist reports on which certain IERs relied, and misrepresentations in certain IERs. On this basis, ASIC had reason to believe that Mr Van Dieren was not adequately trained, or was not competent, in the provision of financial services, and had not complied with certain financial services laws.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, ‘As financial system gatekeepers, AFS licensees engaged to provide independent expert reports have heightened responsibilities. Directors and responsible officers of expert licensees must meet standards of independence and professional competency to ensure these responsibilities are met. When directors and officers fail to meet their responsibilities, we will act to remove them from the industry.’
The review of Mr Van Dieren’s banning order has not yet been heard by the AAT.
ASIC regularly conducts surveillances of independent experts. As part of this surveillance program, ASIC undertook a review of a number of IER engagements prepared by John Van Dieren in his capacity as a signing director and responsible officer of AFS licensee Stantons.