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PI problems lead to Ballastís licence suspension

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has suspended the financial services licence of Ballast Financial Management for 10 weeks after it was unable to obtain professional indemnity (PI) insurance.

In January ASIC banned Ballast director Wayne Blazejczyk from providing financial services for five years after failing to meet the best-interest obligations when providing advice on self-managed super funds.

The regulator accused Mr Blazejczyk of placing customers with low-value superannuation balances into SMSFs and advising them to invest in the Bateau Opportunities Fund, which he owned.

Last week ASIC suspended Ballast’s licence until December 18 because the Perth-based financial adviser was unable to obtain PI insurance to comply with its obligation to have adequate compensation arrangements.

The 10-week suspension is intended to give Ballast sufficient time to put adequate compensation arrangements in place, and provides an “opportunity to identify and appoint an appropriately qualified and experienced responsible manager following the resignation of its previous responsible manager”.

In 2015, ASIC banned Mr Blazejczyk’s colleague at Ballast, Marion Joan Pearson, for life. It said she deposited client money into an account controlled by her, created false documents and told her clients the funds were invested in assets when they were not.

Ballast must demonstrate it is in a position to recommence its financial services business by the end of the 10-week suspension or ASIC will consider cancelling the licence, which Ballast has held for 17 years.