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Friday 11 March 2022

22-046MR ASIC warns about financial viability of the Youpla Group (formerly known as ACBF)

ASIC has written to the directors of Youpla Group (formerly known as ACBF Group Holdings Pty Ltd) to ask them to take immediate and public action to address concerns about the financial viability of ACBF 1, ACBF Plan and ACBF Community.

The directors of Youpla Group have advised ASIC that they intend to make a public statement today regarding the financial position of each of ACBF 1, ACBF Plan and ACBF Community.

ASIC is concerned to ensure members of the relevant funeral funds and their representatives have up to date information to make informed decisions. 

ASIC’s action follows the entry into liquidation of another of the Group’s entities, the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund No 2 Pty Ltd (ACBF 2) on 2 March 2022. The funeral policies of members of ACBF 2 have now ceased.

ASIC appreciates that the ongoing uncertainty about the future of the Youpla Group is causing distress for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities affected.

ASIC is concerned about members of ACBF 1, ACBF Plan and ACBF Community continuing to pay premiums when they may get little benefit from these products in the future.

ASIC and NSW Fair Trading will meet with consumer representative groups today to provide an update on the current situation. 

More information for affected consumers can be found on asic.gov.au.

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Background

Entities controlled by Youpla Group Pty Ltd (formerly ACBF Group Holdings Pty Ltd) offer four products:

  • The Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund  – issued by The Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund Pty Limited (ACBF 1)
  • Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund No 2 – issued by Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund No 2 Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (ACBF 2)
  • Aboriginal Community Funeral Plan – issued by ACBF Funeral Plans Pty Ltd (ACBF Plan)
  • Community Funeral Plans – issued by Community Funeral Plans Pty Ltd (ACBF Community)

ASIC has previously taken legal action against ACBF Plan for false and deceptive conduct while promoting and selling the Aboriginal Community Funeral Plan. (see 20-262MR). Our legal action is ongoing.

This is the third case ASIC has taken in relation to the Youpla Group’s sales practices, following previous actions taken by ASIC in 1999 and 2004.  The Youpla Group was also a case study in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

ASIC as the corporate regulator monitors compliance with the Corporations Act by companies such as those in the Youpla Group.  We also oversee compliance with the ASIC Act, including the prohibition on misleading or deceptive conduct. This includes monitoring compliance with directors duties and the prohibition on insolvent trading.  Until 1 April 2020, funeral expenses policies were exempt from being a financial product, and therefore not subject to the financial services licensing and disclosure regime.  No entities controlled by the Youpla Group are or were licensed by ASIC at any time. 

ACBF 1, ACBF Plan and ACBF Community are funeral contribution funds regulated by NSW Fair Trading under the Funeral Funds Act 1979 (NSW). ASIC has also written to NSW Fair Trading to raise its concerns and has been working with NSW Fair Trading in this matter. NSW Fair Trading is the regulator responsible for supervision of the financial viability of these funds. 

Editor’s note:

On 11 March 2022, ACBF 1, ACBF Plan and ACBF Community were put into liquidation. Members of these funds are no longer covered under their funeral policies and will need to make other arrangements.

Editor's note 2:

Further information on this matter can be found on the ASIC Youpla information page

Last updated: 14/04/2022 05:18