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14-195MR Your Super Accountant pays infringement notice in relation to ‘FREE’ SMSF set up claims
Your Super Accountant has paid a $2,040 infringement notice penalty after making potentially misleading statements about the cost of setting up a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) using Your Super Accountant's administration services.
ASIC’s concerns related to statements that appeared on the Your Super Accountant website in January 2014.
The representations on the website homepage were that fund set up was free. The website homepage did not disclose any conditions.
ASIC was concerned that although promoted as free, the conditions for fund set up required investors to pay $200 upfront – 20% of the annual administration fee – to be eligible for ‘free’ fund set up.
ASIC was also concerned that fund set up using a corporate trustee was not free under any circumstance.
Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, ‘Some terms and phrases – such as "free" – have such a strong connotation for consumers that particular care should be taken so that investors are not misled.
‘Setting up an SMSF is an extremely important financial decision and consumers should clearly understand the set up costs involved.'
‘ASIC has a particular focus on misleading claims that a financial product or service is “free”, as this may lead consumers to make inappropriate financial decisions,’ Mr Kell said.
ASIC acknowledges that Your Super Accountant has taken steps to correct its website.
The payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001 consumer protection provisions. ASIC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.
ASIC is targeting potentially misleading statements about ‘free’ SMSF set up. See also: SuperHelp Australia Pty Ltd pays infringement notice in relation to ‘FREE’ SMSF fund set up claims (refer: 14-051MR).
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.