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22-100MR Infringement notices issued to Maritime Super for member fee statements
Maritime Super Pty Ltd has paid $26,640 to comply with two infringement notices issued by ASIC. The notices concerned alleged misleading statements made to members about Maritime’s investment partnership with Host-Plus Pty Ltd (Hostplus).
In a Significant Event Notification and a newsletter sent to members between March and June 2021, Maritime stated that its investment partnership with Hostplus would result in reduced overall investment management fees for its members.
ASIC was concerned that these statements were misleading because Maritime’s investment partnership resulted in increased investment costs for 77 per cent of Maritime members and higher investment fees for six of Maritime’s 11 investment options.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘The superannuation industry is going through a period of consolidation and change. As such, it is crucial that consumers and fund members are provided accurate information so that they can make informed decisions about their super. In this case, we were concerned that Maritime members may have been misled by the communications about fees.’
‘ASIC has a number of regulatory tools to address alleged misconduct where we are concerned that consumer harm may occur, including the issuing of infringement notices. We remain focused on protecting consumers’ interests and will take enforcement action where necessary to ensure that superannuation trustees comply with their obligations to provide accurate information to members,’ concluded Ms Court.
In August 2021, at ASIC’s request, Maritime issued a corrective disclosure to members, confirming that some Maritime members may face higher investment fees and costs as a result of the investment partnership.
Maritime paid the infringement notice penalties on 22 April 2022. Payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the ASIC Act consumer protection provisions.
In April 2021, Maritime entered into an investment partnership with Hostplus, which resulted in its investment assets being transferred to Hostplus’ Pooled Superannuation Trust.