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Thursday, 23 August 2012
Page: 6329

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

(Question No. 1503)

Senator Cormann asked the Minister representing the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, upon notice, on 16 January 2012:

With reference to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Goldsmith and Associates Pty Ltd (Goldsmiths), on what date did ASIC first:

(a) become aware that Goldsmiths were operating in Australia and seeking investments from the general public;

(b) receive a complaint from any individual or organisation in relation to Goldsmiths’ operations in Australia, and what was the nature of this complaint and how was it communicated to ASIC;

(c) become aware that Goldsmiths was not a holder of an Australian Financial Services licence;

(d) commence action to restrict or stop Goldsmiths from operating in Australia, and what was the nature of this action; and

(e) communicate to the Australian public that it was concerned about Goldsmiths’ operations in Australia, and what was the nature of this communication.

Senator Wong: The Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(a) and (b) ASIC first became aware that Goldsmiths might be cold calling the public on 3 October 2011. As a result of specific actions within the subsequent investigation, further complainants contacted ASIC in mid-December. The complaints were received via telephone and email.

(c) ASIC became aware that Goldsmiths did not have a financial services licence soon after the first complaint was raised.

(d) ASIC commenced ex-parte action against Goldsmith in the Federal Court to preserve investor funds and prevent further funds being obtained. These orders were obtained on 13 December 2011 and restrained the company from carrying on a financial services business via its website, and from transferring or disposing of any funds in connection to the advertised financial services or products. ASIC also obtained orders that the website, and any related websites of Goldsmiths, be deactivated until a court determination.

(e) ASIC issued a media release highlighting its actions and reminding consumers about scams and the importance of remaining vigilant when investing money on 21 December 2011, following further Court orders. ASIC also wrote to the complainants on this day, enclosing a copy of the media release. Further contact has been made with the complainants as part of ASIC’s investigation.