ASIC permanently bans financial adviser and disqualifies company director

ASIC has adopted a practice of issuing combined media releases about administrative action. There is no relationship between the matters or the subjects in this media release, except that ASIC has taken administrative action.

Former financial adviser James David Gibbs permanently banned

ASIC has permanently banned former Adelaide financial adviser Mr James David Gibbs from having any involvement in financial services and credit activities.

This is the first banning imposed by ASIC utilising the recent extensions to ASIC’s banning powers that came into effect on 18 February 2020 as a result of the “Stronger Regulators Act”. The amendments allow ASIC to now ban people from having any involvement in a financial services or credit business. Previously the ban only extended to providing financial services or engaging in credit activities. Failure to comply with a banning is a criminal offence.

In July 2019, Mr Gibbs was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for fraud offences with a non-parole period of seven years (19-179MR). Following his convictions, ASIC pursued the banning orders to remove Mr Gibbs permanently from the financial advice and credit industries. Mr Gibbs has been banned because he committed serious dishonesty offences in relation to dealing with property and documents.

Mr Gibbs has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

Miroslav Gubas banned from managing companies

ASIC has disqualified Mr Miroslav Gubas of Isaacs, ACT from managing companies for five years following his involvement in the failure of two companies.

Mr Gubas was the sole director of two companies placed into liquidation:

  • Frenchy’s Bread Pty Ltd ACN 161 661 703; and

  • Highup Pty Ltd ACN 119 418 423

In making an order to disqualify Mr Gubas, ASIC found that he:

  • Failed to pay the ATO taxes and keep proper records;

  • Failed to assist the liquidators after their appointment to the companies;

  • Allowed a company to continue to trade while it was insolvent;

  • Transferred $450,000 from the company bank accounts to a related company for no consideration, knowing the companies owed statutory and creditor debts.

At the time liquidators were appointed, the companies had a combined total debt of $2.7 million, owed to 91 creditors.

In making the order to disqualify Mr Gubas, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by Mr Alan Hayes of Hayes Advisory, liquidator of Frenchy’s Bread Pty Ltd, and Mr Michael Slaven, formerly of Ernst and Young, liquidator of Highup Pty Ltd. Messrs Hayes and Slaven received funding from the Assetless Administration Fund to prepare the supplementary reports.

Mr Gubas’ disqualification took effect from 18 March 2020.

Background

The banning of James David Gibbs has been recorded on ASIC’s publicly available Financial Advisers Register. ASIC’s Moneysmart website has useful information for consumers about choosing a financial adviser, how to complain about a financial adviser and what to do if their adviser is banned.

ASIC maintains a ‘Banned and Disqualified Persons’ register that provides information about people who have been disqualified from:

  • involvement in the management of a corporation;

  • auditing self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs); or

  • practicing in the financial services of credit industry.

ASIC is a member of the Phoenix Taskforce, which comprises federal, state and territory government agencies who collaborate to combat illegal phoenix activity. The aim of the Phoenix Taskforce is to provide a whole-of-government approach to identify, disrupt and prosecute those who engage in or facilitate illegal phoenix activity.

Suspected phoenix activity can be reported to the Phoenix Taskforce on 1800 060 062 or online at the ATO website. More information about ASIC action against illegal phoenix activity is available on ASIC’s website.

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