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Investment firms restrained from promoting products

The Federal Court has made interim orders restraining two firms within an investment group from promoting their products, alongside limits on words they can use in their advertising.

Mayfair Wealth Partners (Mayfair Platinum) and Online Investments (Mayfair 101) have copped the restrictions after ASIC made an application for an interim injunction.

The corporate regulator recently launched proceedings in the Federal Court against the two companies, alleging their advertisements were misleading or deceptive when promoting two debenture products to wholesale investors.

Payment of capital redemptions to investors in the Mayfair debenture products were suspended on 11 March due to liquidity issues.

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On Thursday, Justice Stewart Anderson of the Federal Court restrained Mayfair Platinum and Mayfair 101 until further order from:

  • All advertising, promotion and marketing of the Mayfair debenture products; and
  • Using the below prohibited phrases in any advertising, promotion or marketing of any products, including on their websites and through sponsored link advertising, including, via Google AdWords and Bing Ads:

-       “term deposit”;

-       “bank deposit”;

-       “capital growth”;

-       “certainty”;

-       “fixed term”; and 

-       “term investment”.

The court also ordered that the two companies must post the following notice on their websites, and give a copy of the following notice to each prospective new investor in the Mayfair debenture products:

“The Mayfair 101 Group of companies reminds investors prior to investing in the products offered by the Mayfair 101 Group that:

  1. Mayfair 101 is not a bank, and nor are any of the companies in the Mayfair 101 Group. Therefore, the Mayfair 101 Group is not regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and investment in its products is not covered by the Australian Government’s Financial Claims Scheme (colloquially known as the ‘Government Bank Guarantee’ which covers deposits up to A$250,000 per depositor, per bank).
  2. As with all investment products, there are risks in investing in the Mayfair 101 Group’s products.
  3. Investing in the products offered by the Mayfair 101 Group is not the same as depositing money in a term deposit offered by a bank. Investing in Mayfair 101 Group products has a higher level of risk compared to investing in a bank term deposit.
  4. In certain circumstances, the Mayfair 101 Group can exercise the right to suspend some or all redemptions at the end of the fixed term. The Mayfair 101 Group exercised this right on 11 March 2020. As such, all redemptions are currently suspended until such time as management agrees to lift the suspension and process redemptions. Your investment in the products offered by the Mayfair 101 Group may also be subject to suspension of some or all redemptions at the end of the fixed term. This is a risk that you should take into account.”

But the court declined to restrain the defendants from issuing and accepting new investments in the Mayfair debenture products.

It will list the matter for hearing to determine ASIC’s allegations in due course.

Investment firms restrained from promoting products
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