ASIC Releases Guidance on Advertising
Recent guidance on compliance with legal obligations has been released as an aide to promoters of financial products and services. ASIC's commitment to promoting informed investors and financial consumers is outlined in Regulatory Guide 234 "Advertising financial products and advice services: Good practice guidance" (RG 234).
ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said "Ads that do not accurately represent the financial product or its key features and risks, or the nature and scope of financial advice, can create unrealistic expectations that lead to poor financial decisions."
"It is important that ads are clear, accurate and balanced, especially when consumers are looking for lower risk products in an uncertain global financial environment."
Promoters are reminded that ASIC will be regularly reviewing ads of financial products and financial advice services and scrutinising publishers of advertising for these products and services.
ASIC's reviews in response to concerns about poor practices and potentially misleading or deceptive conduct have resulted in the withdrawal or remediation of 117 advertisements across the financial services sector since July 2010.
Those in breach of legal obligations face more severe penalties as ASIC has the power to issue stop orders and public warning notices and seek civil pecuniary penalties.
The final guidance on advertising has been released in response to feedback ASIC received on Consultation Paper 167 "Advertising financial products and advice services: Good practice guidance" (CP 167).
Examples of where ASIC had raised concerns with promoters that resulted in an advertisement change have been included in the guidance paper.