Macquarie ‘fake family office’ creator banned

The former head of a subsidiary of Australian financial giant Macquarie Group has been slapped with a six-year ban from providing financial services, after he was found to have set up a fake family office in order to get information from competitors.

Timothy Hornibrook was director of Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management Ltd (MAFML), a specialist agricultural investment fund, when he set up Brook Family Office, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) said.

Hornibrook’s sales team then used the fake family office email addresses to send requests to at least nine competing fund managers, asking for “confidential information” on company background, investment process, fund performance and fees, ASIC said.

ASIC found Hornibrook had failed “to act honestly”, and had “misused” information and his position as director to gain advantage for himself and the business.

ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said: “The deceptive conduct of Mr Hornibrook was not inadvertent nor was it the result of a momentary lapse. It was committed over a number of years and was intended to gain an advantage for himself and the Macquarie business for which he was responsible.”

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