Hong Kong regulator bans former agent for academic fraud

Offender found to have used certificates for schools she never attended

Hong Kong regulator bans former agent for academic fraud

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority (IA) has issued a three-year ban for a former insurance agent who used false academic certificates.

According to the regulator, the former agent used two different false academic certificates on two separate occasions, as part of the minimum education requirements to be an insurance agent.

In October and December 2015, the former agent applied with the Insurance Agents Registration Board (IARB) to be recognised as an agent of two authorised insurers. However, she used academic certificates from schools she never attended. This was even though she actually met the education requirements, having attended a different school from those stated in the two false academic certificates she submitted.

The incidents happened during the previous self-regulatory regime, which means that the former agent was subject to the disciplinary approach of the IARB instead of the harsher punishment under the new IA regime.

“An individual who displays such a lack of ethics and integrity by using false academic certificates on two separate occasions in a submission to a regulator, violates the trust on which the insurance market must be founded,” the IA said. “Such individual is deserving of a lengthy ban. It matters not that she satisfied the minimum academic requirements. This is an issue that goes to character and knowingly submitting false documents to a regulator twice is indicative not only of a lack of fitness and properness of character, but also a material lack of understanding of the duties and ethical responsibilities of an insurance agent.”

The IA added that it has “zero tolerance” for this kind of behaviour. Individuals that are found to have used false academic certificates under the previous self-regulatory regime will be banned until they are able to establish that they have been reformed.

Under the new IA regime, which began on Sept. 23, 2019, using false academic certificates is a criminal offence punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine.

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