ASIC warns real estate agents: stop spruiking SMSFs

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission says some real estate agents are offering kickbacks to financial advisers to advise investors to use an SMSF to purchase the real estate agents’ properties.

It says financial advisers may be banned from receiving them under the Future of Financial Advice reforms.

“This is because the commissions or benefits could reasonably be expected to influence the financial product advice given to retail clients,” the agency says.

Meanwhile it has warned real estate agents off advising their clients to invest in property using a self-managed super fund.

“ASIC is concerned that with the increased popularity of SMSFs and property investment, real estate agents may not realise they are providing financial product advice and need an Australian financial services licence when making recommendations or statements of opinion to a person to use an SMSF to invest in property,” it says.

Individuals caught face fines of up to $34,000 or two years imprisonment while companies face fines of up to $170,000.

‘We want to ensure the SMSF sector remains healthy and vibrant so investors can be confident that, if they are receiving advice about investing through an SMSF, their adviser holds an Australian financial services licence and is aware of its obligations’, ASIC Commissioner  Greg Tanzer says.

It wrote to the Real Estate Institute of Australia to clarify regulations with agents.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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