ASIC bans PIS adviser for dishonest conduct


By Daniel Paperny

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A former Professional Investment Services (PIS) financial planner has been permanently banned from providing financial services for engaging in dishonest conduct and misleading clients.

Between September 2010 and October 2011, financial adviser Satvir Singh Birk was found to have caused cheques to be drawn on a client's superannuation account without authorisation and deceived a number of clients as to the use of funds withdrawn from their super funds.

In addition, ASIC said Birk misled another client during the sale of an unlisted registered managed investment scheme and then used a portion of the proceeds of the sale for his own personal means.

“[He] deceived another client as to the price at which units in an unlisted registered managed investment scheme had been sold for and as to the use of the proceeds of the sale, and used a portion of the proceeds for the benefit of Mr Birk's father,” ASIC said in a statement.

Commenting on the announcement, ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell spoke of the corporate regulator’s duty in dealing with unconscionable conduct in the financial services sector and importance of preserving integrity and accountability when it came to the provision of advice.

“ASIC will ensure anyone who acts dishonestly and places their own interests ahead of those they advise will be removed from the financial services industry,” Kell said.

Birk first became a partner of Sa & Birk Accountants in Brisbane in December 1999 and later a director of the Carter Group in the Gold Coast.

The Carter Group, which is now in external administration, was formerly a corporate authorised representative of PIS, which is a subsidiary of independent advice network Centrepoint Alliance.

In April 2014, Birk ceased his roles with Sa & Birk Accountants Pty Ltd, the Carter Group Pty Ltd and his authorised representative role with PIS was revoked.

Birk will be given the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

He was already known to officials having appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court in July last year charged with five counts of fraud involving approximately $800,000,but was released on various bail conditions.

The matter has been adjourned until 7 August and is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, ASIC said.

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