The financial regulator has found 21 instances of insurance brokers and financial planners telling consumers they were “independent”, despite receiving commissions on sales.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) conducted a recent surveillance project to expose the breaches.
Financial services companies are prohibited from using the terms, “independent”, “unbiased” or “impartial” if they receive commission or volume-based payments.
ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said the national regulator’s first priority is to ensure people are receiving the information they need to make informed and confident financial decisions.
“We will not tolerate them being misled on the important issue of the independence of financial system gatekeepers such as financial advisers and insurance brokers,” Kell said.
“ASIC conducted the survey following a single complaint in order to assess the extent of the problem of inappropriate usage of the term “independent”.
“Going forward, where we find incorrect information about independence we will be taking stronger action including publicly naming the licensees involved,” Kell said.
The licensees identified included 17 insurance brokers, three financial planners and one life broker.