MID-TIER firm Herbert Geer & Rundle (HGR) has acknowledged a warning from corporate watchdog the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) over two related investment schemes operated by former partner Anthony May.
ASIC last week confirmed that HGR, via May, had given it an undertaking to cease sending certain letters encouraging parties to invest in a pair of companies, namely W.A. Blue Gum Ltd and Mediterranean Olives Estate Ltd. May is a director of both.
The undertaking arose from an ASIC investigation into thousands of letters signed by May, some of which were printed underneath the firm’s header, and sent to prospective general investors and Victorian barristers between 2000 and 2002. Essentially, the letters invited recipients to take part in registered managed investment schemes operated by the two companies.
Because it concluded that neither NGR nor May are authorised to give financial product advice, ASIC was concerned the correspondance “may have contravened the terms of licences issued to the companies in relation to their roles as responsible entities for the agricultural schemes”.
Despite maintaining they did not breach any law, May, HGR and the two companies acknowledged the corporate watchdog’s concerns.
May and his employer subsequently undertook not to “allow any similar letters to be published in the future”.
The companies have further undertaken to strengthen their compliance procedures, and to engage an independent consultant to monitor and report on their compliance programs for the next two years.
The compliance reports will be provided to ASIC.