Townsville Bulletin - Man bites watchdog
Publication: Townsville Bulletin
Date: 28/07/2006
Words: 2318
Source: AFR click here for original article

A WEALTH creation spruiker has defended his right to educate the public about money.

Self-made millionaire Jamie McIntyre was in Townsville to address wealth creation seminars earlier this week and lashed out at the corporate watchdog over its role in a scandal over unlicensed selling of financial products.

Mr McIntyre and his company, 21st Century Academy, were taken to court by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission last year and ordered to change the way they held live seminars in Australia.

In making final orders, the Federal Court declared that 21st Century Academy had contravened the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act) in that it had carried on a financial services business without holding an Australian financial services licence (AFSL).

Mr McIntyre said the whole issue arose over what constituted financial product advice and what constituted financial education.

"The licensing laws were created for financial planners ... in other words, if you're going to advise people in investment products you need a licence in order to do that," he said.

"I actually provide financial education and have other speakers that provide financial product advice."

He said the laws were very vague in this area. "For many years we had asked ASIC to provide a guideline on what they considered the laws are. However, for some reason they continually refused to provide a guideline," he said.

"We considered that to be somewhat vague and immature for a government regulator."

Mr McIntyre said 21st Century Academy now had Australian Financial Services licensed speakers at his seminars, however there was still a lot of negative publicity over the investigations.

"Unfortunately, I think a lot of Australians were scared as a result of ASIC's ... allegations," he said.

Mr McIntyre said despite the negative publicity his company had grown quite considerably over the past five years.

"In the last five years we have grown to have a $25 million yearly turnover rate through financial education and seminars," he said.

Mr McIntyre said he had come a long way since he started his company nine years ago.

The former nominee for Young Australian of the Year said he went from being $150,000 in debt 10 years ago to becoming a self-made millionaire through property investing and trading in options.

Mr McIntyre conducted the Townsville seminar at Jupiters hotel and casino last Sunday, attracting about 100 people from around North Queensland.

The seminar covered three key areas for creating wealth in the 21st century. Mr McIntyre said the aim of the seminar was to teach financial strategies such as investing in real estate and the stock market and earning money through internet marketing.

The seminar was about combining all these strategies with education and a healthy mindset to become wealthy in today's world, Mr McIntyre said.

"We were taught in our school life on how to work for our money (when) instead we should also have been taught on how to make our money work for us," he said.

"Big corporations are making big money through our ignorance, the public are slaves to the banks and slaves to their jobs.

"The system is designed for us to give our money to the banks and retire on jack-all."

Mr McIntyre and his company is travelling around Australia and New Zealand conducting seminars.

"We're holding these seminars in every capital city in Australia and New Zealand.

"We chose Townsville because it is recognised as one of the fastest growing regional cities," he said.

The company also had a growing number of clients from the twin cities and North Queensland.

Mr McIntyre said that despite the ASIC investigation Australians were intelligent enough to check the facts and understand there were always two sides to the story.

One seminar client Craig Phillipson, 33, from West End said the seminar was very informative.

"It opened me up to new ideas in internet advertising and the real estate market, especially the real estate strategies of how to use inflation to increase my borrowing potential," Mr Phillipson said.

A ASIC spokeswoman said Mr McIntyre and his company had been investigated because they provided a financial services business without being the holder of an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence.

She said the matter had been settled out of court under the condition that Mr McIntyre and his company provide licensed speakers at the seminars