With ASIC cracking down on potentially misleading advertisements, Media Super Limited is next to pay a penalty, of $10,200, to comply with an infringement notice.
The advertisement in question, a factsheet published in September 2012 entitled ‘Self-managed super? You be the judge’, was that which caused the concerns from ASIC.
The advertisement compared the costs and benefits of an SMSF with a fund through industry superfund, Media Super. It was seen on Media Super’s website and was sent out to all fund members.
ASIC noted concerns that the factsheet inaccurately represented the costs and benefits of Media Super funds compared to SMSFs.
ASIC commissioner, Greg Tanzer, said that Media Super reacted quickly – removing the statements from the websites once approached, and cooperating with concerns.
“ASIC is serious about making sure investors can be confident and informed and that means cracking down on misleading or inaccurate advertising,” said Tanzer.
The payment is not an admission of a contravention of the ASIC Act.
The infringment notice states that the advertisement appeared between about 1 September 2012 and 26 April 2013.
Media Super currently has a ‘Need to Know’ mention about the fine, stating that there have been no complaints about the fact sheet and no “apparent loss to any member arising from reading the fact sheet”.
They identify the error as being an accidental omission of a component of their fees.
“Media Super considers ASIC’s response in imposing a financial penalty to be an over-reaction,” it notes.
“Media Super is vigilant in ensuring that it meets all of its regulatory obligations. Media Super is equally vigilant in cautioning members about the potential costs and risks of self-managed super funds, and will continue to do so.”
A version of the Media Super factsheet is currently online on their website with the following statement:
“IMPORTANT UPDATE: We previously published a fact sheet on this topic that contained misleading statements. We have revised the fact sheet to enable you to make a fair comparison on the different products. It is important that you read this fact sheet and disregard the previous one.”
Recently, Mortgage Choice, MyRate and SMSF Property Capital have been penalised by ASIC for potentially misleading advertisements.
However, this isn’t the first time ASIC has been taking a stand against poor form in advertising, with August 2012 seeing a clamping down on lenders, specifically, for similar issues. At the time, a counted 117 from July 2010 were forced to alter or withdraw their advertising in response to similar concerns.
This article first appeared in SmartCompany.