On Wednesday (23 March), ASIC said it is seeking out “misleading performance and risk representations” in promotional material, including search engine advertising, targeting retail investors and possibly “unsophisticated” wholesale investors.
ASIC said its surveillance comes due to concerns that consumers seeking reliable or high returns are being misled about the performance and risks of funds they are investing in.
“ASIC remains concerned that managed fund promoters continue to target consumers, particularly retirees or those planning for retirement, with ambiguous or misleading performance and risk representations,” ASIC deputy chair Karen Chester said.
“Where we identify fund marketing of concern, we will also review the corresponding product disclosure statements, websites and target market determinations to assess if the marketing claims are misleading.”
The regulator has previously taken action against fund managers for misleading marketing or advertising, including Mayfair 101 who was ordered to pay a combined penalty of $30 million last year.
La Trobe Financial Asset Management was also hit with a $750,000 fine in November for the same accusations.
“ASIC is committed to protecting consumers where misleading marketing practices run counter to their interests,” Ms Chester said.
“If we identify misleading conduct, we will take prompt action to disrupt behaviours by deploying across our regulatory tools – from administrative intervention through to enforcement action if warranted.”