The penalty totalled $75m – the biggest for a single enforcement action in ASIC history
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has laid down a historic penalty with the help of Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF).
AGM Markets Pty Ltd and its authorised representatives OT Markets Pty Ltd and Ozifin Tech Pty Ltd were slapped with a penalty totalling $75m by the Federal Court of Australia on 16 October. The penalty is the biggest for a single enforcement action in ASIC’s history.
“The penalty comprises $35m for AGM Markets Pty Ltd and $20m for each of OT Markets Pty Ltd and Ozifin Tech Pty Ltd,” NRF said.
The defendants, the firm said, were also required to pay refunds to about 10,000 former clients.
In February, the Federal Court ruled that AGM Markets Pty Ltd and its representatives had engaged in “systemic unconscionable conduct” during its provision of OTC derivative products to Australian retail investors, NRF said. The companies cost investors over $30m.
The companies violated the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act thousands of times in the process by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct, the provision of unlicensed personal advice and the provision of advice that was not in the best interests of their clients, among others. IN addition, the court found 21 individual unconscionable conduct cases.
The February decision was laid down by Justice Jonathan Beach.
“With [the October] Federal Court decision, ASIC’s proceeding sends a strong message deterring misconduct in the financial services industry while continuing to protect investors,” said lead partner Andrew Riordan.
The regulatory disputes partner was supported by senior associate Sophie Wade and associate Kelvin Ng.