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Wednesday 9 December 2015

15-374MR ASIC bans Perth finance broker

ASIC has banned Perth-based finance broker Ms Rana Turkington Hepi from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services for eight years.

ASIC found that Ms Hepi, of Port Kennedy, Western Australia, had engaged in dishonest and misleading conduct when brokering motor vehicle financing for at least three clients between June 2012 and September 2013 whilst employed as a finance broker for Get Approved Finance of Victoria Park.

At the time of the conduct, Get Approved Finance was the trading name of Western Australia-based finance broker Jeremy (WA) Pty Ltd, and operated under its credit licence.

Ms Hepi misled vulnerable clients with poor credit histories to believe they would be approved for vehicle finance if their loan applications were supported by guarantors. Ms Hepi then dishonestly prepared loan applications solely in the names of the proposed guarantors without those persons' knowledge or consent. As a result, Esanda, as the credit provider, financed automotive loans which it otherwise was unlikely to have approved.

ASIC also found that Ms Hepi:

  • created and/or procured fictitious documents including ID certifications, vehicle inspection declarations and invoices for the purchase of vehicles and submitted those documents to Esanda in support of loan applications;
  • misrepresented  the make and/or model of the vehicle to be financed so that she could increase the number of additional finance products also financed under the loan;
  • inflated loan amounts by selling and  financing insurance and warranty products without  her clients' knowledge or consent; 
  • fabricated insurance policies so as to mislead Esanda that comprehensive insurance policies had been issued for the vehicles to be financed when in fact no such policies existed; and
  • destroyed and/or omitted documents to conceal adverse information from Esanda that might have caused it to reject the loan applications. 

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said the banning sends a strong message to any broker considering behaving dishonestly or recklessly. 'ASIC will not hesitate to remove those who engage in dishonest and misleading conduct from the industry for a significant period of time,' Mr Kell said.

Ms Hepi has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.

Two former Get Approved Finance brokers and colleagues of Ms Hepi, Mr Eric-John Pryor and Mr Lachlan McDonald were permanently banned earlier this year from engaging in credit activities or providing any financial services for similar conduct whilst arranging vehicle finance for clients (15-189MR). 

In October 2015 Esanda agreed to compensate more than 70 borrowers for car loans organised by Get Approved Finance. The total value of the loans financed was more than $1.38 million (15-312 MR).

ASIC's investigation into the conduct of Get Approved Finance and Esanda is ongoing.

Background

For the duration of Ms Hepi's employment at Jeremy WA Pty Ltd, Esanda was a division of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

ASIC has published Regulatory Guide 218 Licensing: Administrative action against persons engaged in credit activities (RG 218) and Regulatory Guide 98 Licensing: Administrative action against financial services providers (RG 98). These regulatory guides provide guidance for persons engaging in credit activities and providing financial services on the administrative powers ASIC uses to enforce the credit and financial services legislation. It describes the administrative actions available to ASIC, and indicates the matters ASIC generally takes into account when exercising these powers. The guide explains how ASIC approaches the task of protecting the public and reinforcing the integrity and reputation of the consumer credit and financial services industries.

Last updated: 23/03/2016 03:05