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ASIC bans adviser for using clients' funds

AAP logoAAP 31/10/2016

Australia's corporate regulator has permanently banned former NSW financial adviser Ashley Grant Howard - who used client funds to settle debts to the real life Wolf of Wall Street - from providing financial services.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said Mr Howard failed to comply with the Corporations Act when he used more than $1.8 million of clients' money for purposes including cosmetic surgery for his partner, buying a house and settling debts to Jordan Belfort - the so-called "Wolf of Wall Street" who was the inspiration for Martin Scorcese's hit movie.

ASIC said Mr Howard also provided false information and documents to clients and third parties.

An ASIC investigation found that Mr Howard engaged in dishonest conduct and unauthorised trading, provided financial services when he wasn't licensed or authorised, and engaged in conduct that was likely to mislead.

"Mr Howard's conduct was particularly bad in that, on occasions, he preyed on elderly and vulnerable people," ASIC commissioner John Price said in a statement.

Mr Howard can appeal against the ban, ASIC said.

Mr Belfort - a former broker whose memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, was adapted into the hit film - pleaded guilty to fraud and related crimes in connection with stock market manipulation in 1999.

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