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Industry funds defiant on advertising

Industry Super Australia has defended its advertising campaign following a dressing down from ASIC, vowing to continue its ‘Compare the pair’ project.

Yesterday the corporate regulator announced ISA has agreed to make amendments to its ‘Compare the pair’ advertising campaign after ASIC raised concerns about potentially misleading information.

However, in a statement issued after the announcement, ISA stood its ground, claiming that “Australian consumers will still be able to ‘compare the pair’ to look at the performance of super funds”.

The ISA statement also levels blame against the “big, bank-owned funds” for colluding to “get ‘Compare the pair’ off the air”, arguing that the retail funds sector would “better serve Australians by lifting their investment returns”.

Responding to ASIC’s announcement, AFA chief executive Brad Fox told ifa that the wrist-slap puts the lobby group’s other projects and initiatives under a cloud.

“If you can’t trust what the industry funds have said in their multi-million dollar 'Compare the pair' advertising campaign, then how can you trust what they have to say about FOFA?” Mr Fox asked.

“The integrity of the ISA is severely brought into question by this ASIC outcome. It shows that they misrepresented the facts to unfairly influence investors to put their money into industry funds.

The announcement from ASIC comes as investment research service The Motley Fool has issued a message to subscribers – seen by ifa – which describes the industry fund sector as free of conflicts.

“Vocal opponents to the government’s plans include the consumer advocacy organisation, Choice, non-profit industry superannuation funds and us here at The Motley Fool.

“Choice has nothing to gain and no conflict of interest. Neither do industry super funds.”