It has been reported that Frontline Financial Planning, a company that is presently under investigation by ASIC is running an unauthorised operation offering Australians the ability to buy and sell CFDs and trade foreign exchange. All this is apparently taking place from Bangla Road, which is at the heart of Patong’s [in Thailand] famous nightlife scene and a place where you can find restaurants, bars, discos, girly bars, go-gos, etc. While the network of bars and nightspots generate plenty of business, a big part of it from holidaying Australians, Bangla Road would seem an unlikely location from which to run a brokerage firm – yet, apparently Frontline Financial Planning is operating from this very road.
Reportedly, Frontline moved its website (www.frontlinefinancialplanning.com to www.ftlfinancialplanning.com) to Thailand after ASIC successfully shut down its Australia-based website. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has urged investors to avoid this company and is now trying to close the Thai site – a process that may require a court order. In the meantime Frontline is mudslinging the good name of two separate companies that are unrelated to the operation by utilising their names and other details as if they were its own. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has received a number of complaints against the operation with many customers being unable to retrieve their funds. ASIC noted that Frontline Financial Planning allegedly contacts individuals by phone and tries to encourage them with attractive returns of 10-20% per month from day trading shares. Allegedly the call dealer then tries to get the investor to sign up to a two-week trial of an investment account managed by a house broker. ‘Complainants who have taken up the trial to date have been unable to recover their money following the two-week period,’ ASIC said in a statement.
ASIC Commissioner Dr Peter Boxall said investors need to be cautious when offered unsolicited investment advice. Meanwhile Frontline Financial Planning is falsely claiming to be associate with a Melbourne company of the same name and FTL Financial Advice, a subsidiary of Flinders Trustees. Neither company are connected with the Frontline operation. “It’s like identity theft, isn’t it,” FTL director Chris Guille said. Not only was Frontline utilising the name of Mr Guille’s company, but it was also claiming to be operating under FTL’s Australian Financial Services License — the ASIC-approved license to run a financial services business – by quoting its license number. “It was an absolute eye-opener to us that they effectively stole our AFS number,” Mr Guille was quoted saying.
ASIC continues with its investigations but so far has been unable to identify the people responsible for Frontline. The website is registered to Bangla Road, but the website provides an Australian office based in Sydney as a contact point.