ASIC acts on ‘misleading’ SMSF advertising

Several companies associated with setting up SMSFs have been forced to amend their social media communications, after ASIC raised concerns over the misleading nature of the advertisements.

 

Three firms have had to remove or correct "potentially misleading representations" about SMSFs in their social media advertising. the corporate regulator said.

ASIC said in a statement Urban Seed Project Marketing, Skybridge Portfolios and Tatnell DLS had all taken steps to remove or amend potentially misleading advertising on social media.

Skybridge had posted on its Facebook page, "Get yourself an SMSF for your Super – from $99, fully advised. No industry fund can compete with this" and "Want your Super Fund to replace your current income from work? You need to look at an SMSF – highest account balances out of all super funds", the corporate regulator said. 

Tatnell's YouTube videos favourably compared SMSFs to other superannuation funds without explaining or referencing the range of factors that will contribute to whether an SMSF is better performing or a lower cost to consumers than industry and retail funds.

ASIC said it was concerned that the representations made by Skybridge and Tatnell were potentially misleading about the benefits, risks and costs associated with SMSFs.

"Advertisements regarding financial products, including SMSFs, should give a balanced message about the returns, features, benefits and risks associated with a product," the corporate regulator said.

Urban Seed's YouTube videos linked to a promotional website that included representations about "SMSF qualified" and "SMSF friendly" properties available for sale.

ASIC said it was concerned that the promotional website suggested there was a category of property particularly suited to investment through an SMSF.

Whether or not property is suitable for purchase through an SMSF will depend on the investment strategy of the SMSF purchasing the property and the circumstances of the purchase.

"Accuracy in advertising is integral to maintaining consumer trust and confidence in the SMSF sector," ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said.

"ASIC will continue to take action where we see advertising that might mislead consumers, whether that advertising is on social media or more traditional media," he added.

ASIC said all three companies have removed the relevant posts and videos, have ensured future marketing on social media will undergo appropriate review and approvals processes, and have fully cooperated in responding to ASIC's concerns.

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