The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has taken action against insurance agent Susan Keshen by revoking her licence and refusing to renew it, as well as imposing administrative penalties amounting to $18,000.
The decision was prompted by Keshen’s contravention of the Insurance Act and its regulations, which include carrying on business as an insurance agent under a name other than the one specified on her licence.
Furthermore, Keshen was found to have made false and misleading statements in soliciting or registering insurance.
FSRA’s order was issued as part of a settlement reached with Keshen, according to a news release from the regulator.
In a document outlining the details of the settlement, FSRA said Keshen was contracted with Financial Horizons Incorporated, a managing general agent (MGA). She had also entered into a producer’s agreement - general agent broker (GAB) with Manulife in 2004. The agreement stipulated the terms for promoting, selling, and servicing Manulife products, including that all necessary licences must be maintained.
At the same time, Keshen had a personal relationship with an individual named Michael Stoddart, who was formerly a licenced life insurance and accident and sickness insurance agent. When Stoddart’s licence was revoked in 2008, his book of business was transferred to Keshen by Financial Horizons. However, neither of them informed clients about the switch.
Keshen also hired Stoddart as an office manager despite his revoked licence, with documents provided to FSRA indicating that he continued to be involved in client transactions, including financial and insurance advice, fund transfers, applications for insurance, and automatic withdrawal adjustments.
FSRA said Keshen granted Stoddart unsupervised access to client information on insurers’ portals using her credentials. She also allowed him to add her advisor code, sign on her behalf, and send forms to Manulife. Additionally, she gave him access to hard copies of client files, as well as access to her online account with Financial Horizons, it was stated.
There were also instances where Keshen failed to follow up with clients to confirm trade instructions when Stoddart met with them alone to discuss investment products and transfers between funds, according to FSRA.
Furthermore, Keshen reportedly established an unincorporated entity called Standard Wealth Management (SWM) without obtaining the necessary licence. SWM branding was used on a website soliciting insurance clients, displayed on the company office door. They also used it for printed and electronic communications with clients.
FSRA said it became aware of the situation when Manulife submitted two life agent reporting forms related to Keshen and Stoddart on April 29, 2020.
Manulife terminated its relationship with Keshen on March 3, 2020, while Financial Horizons terminated its association with her on March 16, 2020.
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