ACCC assesses ‘tobacco-free’ designation for managed funds

ACCC assesses ‘tobacco-free’ designation for managed funds

Australia’s competition watchdog is considering an application for a certification trademark informing potential investors that a fund manager or financial institution’s investments are ‘tobacco free’.

Tobacco Free Portfolios, which maintains a list of businesses involved in the manufacture of tobacco products, has applied to register the Tobacco Free certification trademark.

The trademark has three variations, which indicate that the fund manager, or financial institution, does not have direct or indirect investments in companies involved in the manufacture of tobacco products, or the fund manager has committed to divesting any such tobacco holdings within two years.

“Many investors want to invest in funds that are tobacco free, and this mark will help them to make informed investment decisions,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

“Our initial assessment is that this trademark and the underlying rules meet the legal test for registration in that they are clear and not misleading or anti-competitive. Additionally, as the approved certifier, Tobacco Free Portfolios is able to competently assess whether funds and fund managers meet the certification requirements.”

The ACCC has invited comments and submissions before proceeding to a final assessment of the mark in early 2019.

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