SMSF ‘SuperHelp’ magazine advertising on ASIC’s radar after ‘free’ claims

Advertisements published in the October 2013 edition of the Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine have prompted an infringement notice penalty given to SuperHelp Australia Pty Ltd, the advertiser, after potentially misleading statements.

The penalty, of $10,200, was issued to SuperHelp in relation to potentially misleading statements surrounding the cost of setting up a self-managed superannuation fund and using their administration services.

The representations included that fund set up was free of cost, and that a pension fund set up was also free, subject to *conditions. However, no conditions were disclosed in the advertisement in question and ASIC found these on SuperHelp’s website.

The conditions for the fund actually required investors to pay $475 upfront, which is half the annual administration fee, to be eligible for a free setup. There were also restrictions around numbers of members and the number of investments possible.

ASIC also expressed concerns that a pension fund setup was not free for investors under 60 years old.

Deputy Chairman, Peter Kell, said that it is crucial investors are not misled around the true costs of establishing an SMSF.

“Setting up an SMSF is an extremely important financial decision and consumers have a right to expect that representations made about setup costs reflect the actual costs they will incur,” said Kell.

“ASIC has a particular focus on misleading claims that a financial product or service is “free”, as this may lead consumers to make inappropriate financial decisions,” he said.

SuperHelp took steps to correct advertising in the March edition of Smart Investor and is developing improved processes for sign-off on advertisements. The payment of the notice is not an admission of a contravention.

ASIC has previously issued similar notices to Media Super and SMSF Property Capital.

The advertisement in question was included in the infringement notice, as below: