The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) today announced the disqualifications of Mr Sarkis Derstepanian and Mrs Margaret Derstepanian from being a trustee, investment manager or custodian of any regulated superannuation entity, or a responsible officer of a body corporate that is a trustee, investment manager or custodian of any regulated superannuation entity.
APRA disqualified Mr and Mrs Derstepanian on the grounds that they had failed the ‘fitness and propriety’ test required by THE Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (the Act), but without finding any dishonesty. Both were the former trustees of the failed Melbourne-based Tunstall Bond Superannuation Fund (“the Fund”), which had lost in excess of $300,000.
The disqualifications are subject to appeal. Each disqualified person has 21 days from the date of notice in which to lodge a request for internal review of the decision by APRA. If still dissatisfied with the outcome, the disqualified person may appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Dr Darryl Roberts, APRA’s Head of Enforcement, said that trustees are required to act honestly and exercise skill and diligence, and to formulate and implement investment strategies that balance risk and return.
“APRA’s primary concern is to protect the best interests of superannuation beneficiaries and the decision to disqualify the two trustees was based on the view that each trustee had failed to discharge their fiduciary duty to the Fund and its members” he said.
All members of the Fund were employees of Tunstall Bond Pty Ltd (in liquidation) and an associated entity, Sarkis Manufacturing Australia Pty Ltd.
APRA is continuing its investigation into the activities of the Fund.
APRA is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry including banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. It currently regulates $1.5 trillion in assets for 20 million Australians.