Ex-adviser fronts court on fraud charges


By Sarah Kendell

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A former Gold Coast financial adviser and accountant has appeared in Southport Magistrates Court charged with five counts of fraud involving $800,000 of investor funds.

Following an ASIC investigation, Satvir Singh Birk faced court yesterday on the charges, with the corporate regulator alleging he had dishonestly caused a detriment to numerous clients between September 2010 and October 2011, when he was an authorised representative of Professional Investment Services (PIS).

The court adjourned the matter until 1 August and Birk was released on bail on condition he stay at his current address and advise the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions of any address change.

Birk was an adviser under PIS’s financial services licence from September 2007 to April 2014, during which time he was a partner at Sa & Birk Accountants and The Carter Group.

The charges against Birk carry a maximum sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the regulator also announced it had revoked the licence of financial product advice provider Etern Wisdom for failing to comply with a number of its licensing obligations.

The breaches included failing to lodge financial statements, auditor reports and auditor opinions over consecutive years, and failing to advise the regulator of that breach in writing within 10 business days.

Commenting on the licence cancellation, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said licensees were required to lodge financial statements with the regulator to demonstrate their capacity to provide financial services.

“Failure to comply with reporting obligations can be an indicator of broader compliance concerns,” Kell said.

“We are disappointed that some licensees have not heeded the message that their failure to lodge audited financial statements, a key obligation of licensees, may result in the cancellation of their licence.

“We continue to focus on this obligation and will take further action where licensees do not comply.”

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