Fake financial adviser pleads guilty

Charges include forgery and failing to comply with regulator's orders

Fake financial adviser pleads guilty

Legal Insights

By Terry Gangcuangco

Yuen Pok (Paul) Loo, a fake financial adviser, has pleaded guilty to several criminal charges at the Manukau District Court.

Loo, the man who misappropriated funds from a previous employer before setting up Wisdom House Investment Partners Limited, is not registered under the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008 (FSP Act) in relation to a financial advice service.

Neither Loo nor Wisdom House holds a market services licence that covers acting as a provider of a financial advice service. In 2022, a permanent stop order was made by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) - Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko.

Prior to pleading guilty in court, Loo falsely held himself out as a financial adviser and went as far as sending clients a forged letter purporting to be from the FMA, making it appear that the regulator had granted Wisdom House a full financial advice provider (FAP) licence after the company’s transitional FAP licence was cancelled in December 2021.

In Loo’s email that contained the fake FMA letter, he told clients: “My role as your financial adviser has not changed, that is, coaching and guiding you through the various changes you will face throughout your lives and helping you make the big life decisions. Providing expertise on financial planning, investments, retirement planning, insurance, and mortgages.”

Now, in a release this morning, the watchdog confirmed Loo’s guilty plea.

The FMA noted: “Mr Loo pleaded guilty to: one charge of forgery under section 256(1) of the Crimes Act 1961; one representative charge of using a forged document under section 257(1) of the Crimes Act 1961; one representative charge of providing financial services when he was not registered under section 11(2) of the FSP Act; and two representative charges of failing to comply with the FMA’s orders under section 479(2) of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.”

Loo’s sentencing will take place on December 20.

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