AAT affirms ASIC’s decision to permanently ban Victorian adviser

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has affirmed the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) 2017 decision to permanently ban Tracey Joanne Burnell, of Victoria, from providing financial services.

Between 2014 and 2017, insurance contracts were arranged by two companies controlled by Burnell, Landlord Protection and Collection Pty Ltd (LPC) and Landlord Protection Group Pty Ltd (LPG). During the relevant period, neither LPC or LPG held an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence or were authorised to provide financial services, save for a short period of time in which LPG was authorised by an insurance broker.

On 19 October 2020, the AAT rejected Burnell’s submission that LPC and/or LPG were authorised to arrange insurance contracts in the way that they did because her companies acted as representatives and therefore must have been authorised representatives.

Additionally, the AAT found that ASIC was justified in making a banning order under s920A of the Corporations Act because:

  • LPC contravened sections 911A, 911B and 1041H of the Corporations Act;
  • Burnell, as LPC’s sole director and controlling mind, was involved in LPC’s contraventions of sections 911A, 911B and 1041H of the Corporations Act; and
  • there is reason to believe that companies controlled by Burnell are likely to contravene a financial services law and that she is likely to be involved in that contravention.

The AAT found that a permanent ban was appropriate given that Burnell:

  • had been banned from providing financial services previously;
  • emerged from the ban repeating the offending behaviour;
  • compounded that repeat offending behaviour through multiple companies that engaged in the  offending behaviour after emerging from her first ban;
  • caused her offending companies to engage in behaviour charging insurance premiums that were misleading and deceptive; and
  • maintained that acting without the requisite authorisation formality is permissible.

You can view our previous coverage of the ban here and download the AAT’s decision.