ASIC fines industry fund for misleading advertising

An industry super fund has received a $10,200 fine for producing potentially misleading advertising materials related to self-managed superannuation funds.

In a statement released yesterday, the corporate regulator stated that Media Super had paid the fine after publishing a factsheet that inaccurately compared the costs and benefits of SMSFs with the Media Super fund.

According to the ASIC infringement notice issued to Media Super on 3 September 2013, the maximum pecuniary penalty that can be ordered by a court for the alleged contravention is $1,700,000.

An ASIC spokesperson told ifa that $10,200 is the maximum penalty that can be imposed on a corporation for an infringement notice, without initiating legal proceedings.

"ASIC has a choice as to whether to bring civil penalty proceedings – which are generally lengthy court proceedings taken for the most serious of matters – or issue an infringement notice, where the conduct is at the lesser end," said the spokesperson.

The Media Super factsheet, titled Self-managed super? You be the judge, appeared on the fund's website and was sent out to members, according to ASIC.

ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said Media Super removed the statements from its website quickly once approached by ASIC, and cooperated in responding to ASIC’s concerns.

“ASIC is serious about making sure investors can be confident and informed, and that means cracking down on misleading or inaccurate advertising,” said Mr Tanzer.

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