ASIC has cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of Sydney-based Guarded Pty Ltd (Guarded) for failure to comply with financial services laws.
The cancellation was effective from 27 May 2019.
Guarded failed to maintain competence to provide the financial services authorised by its licence after its responsible manager, who had been appointed as a key person, resigned. It also failed to notify ASIC or put forward a suitable replacement.
Generally, a key person is appointed on an AFS licence where ASIC considers that the licensee is dependent on that person to maintain the capacity, knowledge and skills to provide financial services under the licence. Maintaining competence is essential for providing appropriate advice to consumers and ensuring licensees deliver financial services efficiently, honestly and fairly.
Guarded also failed to lodge its financial statements and auditor’s reports with ASIC for the financial years ending 2017 and 2018. Guarded’s failures indicate that that the licensee did not understand its obligations as an AFS licensee.
ASIC expects AFS licensees to comply with the law when key personnel who are responsible for overseeing the provision of financial services resign. Licensees must notify ASIC of any changes to responsible managers within 10 business days of the change occurring.
Licensees are also required by law to lodge their financial statements to demonstrate their capacity to provide financial services. ASIC considers failure to comply with reporting obligations an indicator of a poor compliance culture and will take action if necessary.
Guarded has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Guarded Pty Ltd held AFS licence no 449837 since AFSL since 4 March 2014.