Banning of Queensland director for failing to meet fit and proper person requirements stayed pending appeal

ASIC has banned Queensland director Maree Narelle Hawcroft from controlling an entity that carries on a financial services business and performing any functions involved in the carrying on of a financial services business for one year from 14 March 2023.

The ban has been stayed from 1 August 2023, subject to conditions, after Ms Hawcroft applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) seeking a review of ASIC’s decision as well as stay and confidentiality orders.

Ms Hawcroft was the director of A.C.N. 127 523 193 Limited, formerly Oracle Funds Management Limited (Oracle), and A.C.N. 114 733 569 Limited, formerly ISG Financial Services Limited (ISG).

ASIC found that Ms Hawcroft was not a fit and proper person to perform functions as an officer of an entity that carries on a financial services business, or to control an entity that carries on a financial services business.

When providing a statement of personal information for a recent application from Oracle to ASIC, Ms Hawcroft declared that within the last 10 years she had not been engaged in the management of a company that:

carried on a business for which a licence is required by law;
had been the subject of any investigations or proceedings by a regulatory body; and
had a Corporations Act licence revoked or suspended.
However, at the time she signed the statement of personal information, Ms Hawcroft was a director of ISG which had an AFS licence that had been suspended.

ASIC found that in providing incorrect information in the statement of personal information, Ms Hawcroft had demonstrated lack of diligence, professionalism and poor judgement.

The banning order is recorded on ASIC’s publicly available Banned and disqualified persons register.

Ms Hawcroft applied to the AAT for review of ASIC’s decision, as well as stay and confidentiality orders, on 27 March 2023.

On 1 August 2023, the AAT granted a temporary stay order over ASIC’s decision, with ASIC’s agreement and subject to conditions, pending resolution of the review application. The temporary stay order means that from 1 August 2023, Ms Hawcroft is able to do things that otherwise she would be prohibited from doing by the terms of the banning order, until further order of the AAT and subject to the conditions which include:

providing information to ASIC about her activities that would otherwise be prohibited by the banning order; and
ensuring entities in which she undertakes activity of that kind are made aware of ASIC’s decision, and of the stay orders.
The confidentiality application was withdrawn.

A date for the substantive hearing is yet to be set.

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