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ASIC bans another Protect Ensure adviser

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned Keira Jane Keegan from providing financial services for three years after she was found to have advised SMSF clients to invest in high-risk financial products issued by her licensee.

Keegan was a financial adviser and former representative of Protect Ensure, which had its Australian financial services licence cancelled by the corporate watchdog on 15 December 2014.

She worked from Protect Ensure’s Sydney office and acted as a representative between 12 November 2013 and 15 December 2014.

ASIC found Keegan engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.

In recommending that clients invest in financial products issued by Protect Ensure, Keegan made representations that the investments were a conservative and low-risk option, similar to a term deposit, and that client funds would be pooled to attract a higher interest rate.

The regulator further found the financial products Keegan was recommending were, in fact, unsecured and represented a high-risk investment.

Consequently, partly due to Keegan’s conduct, clients’ funds were used improperly, such as to pay Protect Ensure’s business-related expenses.

As a result, some investors lost their invested funds entirely.

“ASIC will take action against financial advisers who mislead their clients,” ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said.

“We will investigate and take action against such conduct to ensure that consumers have confidence in the financial system.”

On 1 November, ASIC permanently banned George Karakatsanis, of Yeronga, Brisbane, from providing any financial services after he was found to be engaging in conduct that was misleading or deceptive while issuing unsecured fixed interest notes in Protect Ensure.

It also permanently banned Lee Robert Robin, of Camp Hill, Brisbane, on 30 June 2015 from providing any financial services for the same dishonest conduct as Karakatsanis.

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