ASIC clamps down on SMSF social media advertising

Staff Reporter / Tuesday, 23 February 2016 / 0 Comments

Several firms have had to remove or amend "potentially misleading representations" about SMSFs in their social media advertising.

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

ASIC stated that Skybridge’s Facebook page included representations such as “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”.

Tatnell’s YouTube videos, according to ASIC, included representations favourably comparing SMSFs to other superannuation funds without explaining or referencing the range of factors that will contribute to whether an SMSF is better performing or 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,” said the corporate regulator.

Urban Seed’s YouTube videos, according to ASIC, 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 that 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 upon the investment strategy of the SMSF purchasing the property and the circumstances of the purchase.

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

“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.

Skybridge, Urban Seed and Tatnell, ASIC stated, have all 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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