Wealth Within Limited has paid $20,400 in penalties after ASIC issued two infringement notices for misleading online advertisements.
The advertisements related to the investment returns of Wealth Within's individually managed account service, known as the Direct Equity Managed Account Service.
ASIC was concerned that one advertisement, which ran online from 30 June 2011 to 5 March 2013, overstated the true returns for the portfolios advertised.
In a second advertisement which ran from 5 March 2013 to 17 October 2013, ASIC was concerned the ad misled investors into believing they would achieve returns on their individually managed account the same as – or similar to – the returns advertised. ASIC found that, due to the nature of the service, each investor's account would differ from the performance advertised.
ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'Consumers make important financial decisions based on the advertisements they see, read or hear. It is vital that organisations promote their product in a way that is not misleading in any way.
'ASIC will continue to monitor all forms of advertising to ensure consumers can make informed decisions.'
The payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the ASIC Act consumer protection provisions. ASIC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.
Regulatory Guide 234 Advertising financial products and services (including credit): Good practice guidance (RG 234) provides guidance to help promoters comply with their legal obligations not to make false or misleading statements or engage in misleading or deceptive conduct.
Regulatory Guide 53 The use of past performance in promotional material (RG 53) provides guidance to the financial service industry for promotions which use past performance information.