ASIC names new SMSF taskforce focus areas

The corporate regulator has revealed one-stop shop operators and misleading advertising through social media channels and seminars will be on its self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) taskforce’s radar in 2014. The decision to expand the SMSF taskforce’s focus was made at the most recent taskforce meeting held earlier this month. ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said the taskforce would firstly appoint a small project team to explore the trend of one-stop shop operators that offered a range of services to SMSFs.

“The project team will investigate the often complex business model structures of these operators and the risks to investors that this trend poses,” Tanzer said. “This area of focus comes in response to the recent collapse of the Charterhill Group, which operated as a one-stop shop providing, amongst other services, advice to clients on establishing SMSFs, rollover of existing superannuation funds into an SMSF, and the sourcing and purchase of investment properties.” The second area the taskforce will expand its work into is misleading advertising of SMSFs. ASIC regularly identified SMSF advertising on websites, in print and on radio that failed to comply with “Regulatory Guidance 234: Advertising financial products and advice services: Good practice guidance”, Tanzer said. “This work will be expanded to cover online advertising channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube,” he said. “We will also be looking at SMSF seminars for evidence of misleading and deceptive conduct, as well as any unlicensed financial services conduct. “Where we identify any breaches, regulatory action will be sought and we will look to issue an alert to industry and the public to be wary of shonky selling tactics at SMSF seminars.” The regulator’s warning on the issue of property spruikers remained the same, he said. “If you are targeting SMSFs, if there is something in your promotion material that says ‘yes, you should use your superannuation for this purpose’, we regard that as investment advice, therefore you need to be licensed and if you aren’t licensed, we’re going to come after you,” he said. “The other thing is the deceptive promotion or indeed potential for fraud.

“The message for people is that if you see it, let us know and the key message for SMSF investors is that superannuation is a far too important investment for the future to be taken by a glitzy promotion.” The SMSF taskforce was established in September 2012 in response to an increase in geared investment strategies, increasingly aggressive advertising, the collapse of Trio, and the subsequent Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services inquiry.

 

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About Tim Davidson

Tim Davidson is a Director of Connect Accounting Pty Limited an Australian company that provides secure and cost effective compliance and SMSF accounting and income tax services to Australian accounting practices and superannuation administration companies. Tim Davidson, Google Plus Profile - https://plus.google.com/116869855757893395606

Posted on March 3, 2014, in Accounting and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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