Seven-year ban stands for Ross Tarrant

Banned Wollongong financial planner Ross Tarrant has had his bid for reinstatement rejected, ending a two-year appeal process.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) upheld Mr Tarrant’s original seven-year ban, which prohibits him from providing financial services until 2018.

The tribunal agreed the ban - imposed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for a series of breaches linked to the 2009 Trio Capital collapse, and the loss of $23 million in retirement savings - was warranted.

‘‘While there is no evidence of dishonesty, there is evidence of incompetence and negligent, if wilful, breach,’’ said the tribunal in its decision, handed down late last month.

‘‘Mr Tarrant has not expressed any contrition or remorse for the wrongdoing and has sought to blame others for the losses.’’

The tribunal concluded there was ‘‘no evidence that Mr Tarrant now understands the problems and will reform’’ and said the decision would protect investors from possible future breach by Mr Tarrant but ‘‘more particularly’’, would deter other advisers from similar conduct.

ASIC’s ban stood throughout the two-year appeal, which began with a hearing in October 2012 but was adjourned on numerous occasions.

Mr Tarrant made three further applications for an adjournment - citing poor health and dwindling finances - but these were rejected.

The tribunal heard more than 10 days of evidence. Mr Tarrant was initially represented, but did not attend the hearing’s final days.

The tribunal noted the ban decided by ASIC was at the lower end of the appropriate range, which it cited as being seven to 12 years.

Mr Tarrant was the sole director and authorised representative of Tarrants Financial Consultants Pty Pld, which invested $23 million in funds from more than 200 clients in the Astarra Strategic Fund, a managed investment scheme promoted by Trio Capital Limited and former investment manager Shawn Richard.

Mr Tarrant accepted $840,000 in payments from the fund manager, but denied this influenced his advising clients to invest their retirement savings in the scheme.

ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell welcomed the tribunal’s decision.

‘‘The seriousness of Mr Tarrant’s behaviour – which was highlighted by the AAT as being incompetent and negligent – meant that ASIC took all the necessary steps to ensure he was removed from the industry for a substantial period of time.’’

Richard is serving a 2#12Frac-year jail term for dishonestly receiving $1.3 million in investors’ money.

Trio Capital directors banned from providing financial services include former chairman David Andrews (nine years); former chief executive officer Rex Philpott (15 years); Natasha Beck (two years); Keith Finkelde (four years); and David O’Bryen (four years).

Former operator of the ARP Growth Fund, Tony Maher, who changed his name from Paul Gresham, was permanently banned from working in the Australian financial services industry or managing a corporation; Seagrims Pty Ltd’s licence was suspended and its directors, Peter and Anne-Marie Seagrim, banned for six months on appeal, and Corowa-based Kilara Financial Solutions Pty Ltd agreed to strengthen its compliance practices.

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