Financial advice firm copped $20,000 fine for misleading consumers

by Julia Corderoy05 Aug 2015
An interstate financial advice firm, which also provides mortgage broking services and advice, has had to pay over $20,000 in fines to ASIC for making misleading claims about SMSFs.

According to ASIC, Dixon Advisory Group’s website included a page which compared the costs and performance of SMSFs to industry and retail super funds. It also included a promotional video which made claims in relation to an independent review of the superannuation system, which was subsequently shared on the firm’s social media accounts.

However, ASIC says that the web page and video inaccurately represented the costs and performance of SMSFs compared to industry and retail superannuation funds. As a result, Dixon Advisory has had to pay two $10,200 penalties to the regulator. 

“ASIC is determined that all consumers including those considering a self-managed approach to their super get accurate information, and are not misled by any form of advertising, including online and through social media,” ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said.

“Any comparisons between SMSFs and industry and retail funds, particularly regarding performance or fees, must be accurate and have a reasonable basis. Any qualification should be apparent to a consumer when they first see the information.”

Last month, ASIC released two information sheets to improve the quality of advice provided by advisers on SMSFs after announcing SMSFs will be a key surveillance priority.