Sears credit card: advisor fined $440,000

par Hubert Roy | April 22 2019 09:30AM

The Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal has issued a new sanction for practices linked to distribution of products intended for credit card holders 

Assurancia Groupe Tardif SF and its officer responsible Patrice Tardif have been slapped with a $440,000 penalty. The firm must also appoint a new officer responsible. In addition, Tardif is banned from heading an insurance firm for the next five years. 

The sanction resulted from an investigation by Quebec regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers. The case involves distribution by telemarketing of group insurance products offered to customers who held credit cards from the retailers Sears and Canadian Tire. The practices occurred between 2010 and 2016.

“Specifically, the Tribunal noted that most of the responsibilities that fall on the firm and its representatives during the offering and sale of insurance products were assumed by a telemarketing firm, which thus found itself acting as [an insurance] firm but not registered as such with the AMF. The firm Assurancia Groupe Tardif SF therefore condoned its representatives’ not fulfilling their obligations when offering insurance products sold by telemarketing, notably by not personally gathering the information required to evaluate their needs,” the AMF explains. 

The Tribunal handed down its judgment on March 21, and the AMF announced it on April 10.

Does Tardif plan to appeal? Anonymous sources told Insurance Journal that the odds are good. Patrice Tardif’s attorney Éric Lemay, of Dussault Lemay Beauchesne Avocats, did not wish to comment on the matter to Insurance Journal.

No impact on P&C insurance

Note that this disciplinary decision does not affect the activities of the P&C insurance firm of Assurancia Groupe Tardif, owned by Jean-Pierre Tardif. The two men are cousins, Insurance Journal learned. They had agreed that Patrice Tardif could use the name Assurancia Groupe Tardif to conduct his financial services business.

Assurancia Groupe Tardif SF joins Gexel Finance and Optima Insurance Services as distributors who have been sanctioned because of products sold by telemarketing. Last year, three insurers were fined for similar violations. Are other sanctions looming? The AMF stayed true to its policy of not commenting on its past or ongoing inquiries. “We will continue to be vigilant in this area. When necessary, we will act and impose sanctions,” says spokesperson Sylvain Théberge.

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