Investment watchdog not impressed with unauthorised endorsement

SMSF Property Capital Pty Ltd has paid a $10,200 penalty to comply with an ASIC infringement notice after making potentially misleading statements about ‘ASIC approved’ financial products.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said this should be a warning to anyone advertising financial products.

‘It is crucial that consumers are not misled about the level of risk associated with any investment’, Mr Kell said.

‘ASIC takes the misuse of language such as “ASIC endorsed” or “ASIC approved” very seriously, especially in the area of SMSFs. Creating a false impression of the level of regulatory approval for investments can lead to consumers making poor decisions.

‘Providing accurate information that does not mislead is fundamental to the operation of a fair and efficient market’, Mr Kell said.

Mr Kell said SMSF Property Capital had acted quickly to remove the statements from its website once approached by ASIC.

SMSF Property Capital’s payment of the infringement notice penalty is not taken as an admission of liability or a contravention of the consumer protection provisions of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act).

ASIC may issue an infringement notice if it believes the unconscionable conduct and consumer protection parts of the ASIC Act have been contravened. ASIC has the discretion to issue an infringement notice as an alternative to taking civil penalty action.