Social media finfluencer Tyson “ASX Wolf” Scholz has been banned from operating a financial services business or hosting online paid trading advice groups after a permanent injunction was handed down by the Federal Court.
The decision comes almost four months after the court ruled Scholz had contravened the Corporations Act by engaging in financial services without an Australian licence to do so between March 2020 and November 2021.
The legal action was brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which discovered that Scholz had been delivering training courses and seminars about trading in ASX-listed securities, and was promoting them via his Twitter and Instagram handle ‘@ASXWOLF_TS’.
Scholz’s business model saw subscribers pay for $500, $1,000 or $1,500 training packages, with the lowest and highest tiers marketed as introductory or advanced seminars. The middle-tier package - dubbed ‘Black Wolf Pit’ - offered one-year access to a private chat room via communications platform Discord.
In the action brought by ASIC, the court heard how Scholz used his Instagram account to boast about his lavish lifestyle, where he posted content of him having luxury cars, speedboats and expensive champagne.
While his Instagram account is now private, Scholz has more than 20,000 followers and describes himself as a global equity trader with a “market-leading” trading course.
“Through his lifestyle posts and ‘life story’ posts on the Instagram account, Scholz had established a reputation as a successful share trader who had the ability to identify worthwhile companies in which an investment should be made,” Honour Justice Downes said when making her ruling in December.
“It did not matter that the stories did not contain any overt recommendation to acquire the shares: it was enough that Scholz referred to a company or its share in the stories, which was usually done in a way which indicated that he liked that company.”
In an announcement made today, ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said financial services laws existed for the protection of investors.
“ASIC sought permanent injunctions in this case because the people who paid Scholz to access private online forums where he made recommendations about shares, as well as those people who purchased shares based on these recommendations, did not have the benefit of these protections,” Court said.
“Anyone who recommends financial products or provides financial advice on social media must ensure they are complying with the law and may face ASIC enforcement action when they are not.”
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