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Dr. Mark Sinclair
Dr. Mark Sinclair, Mentor Education

Media Super labels ASIC fine an ‘over-reaction’

14 January 2014
Tim Mackay

A NSW court has thrown out Commonwealth Financial Planning’s appeal of a negligence finding made against it, upholding a previous judge’s ruling of “misleading and deceptive” advice.

Media Super has labelled a $10,200 fine they received from ASIC as an over reaction. The industry fund was recently fined by ASIC after they sent a fact sheet to their members that ASIC say inaccurately represented the costs and benefits of Media Super funds when compared to SMSFs. Media Super has said that fact sheet was simply a minor error in cautioning members about the potential costs and risks of SMSFs and has indicated that there were no complaints about the fact sheet from clients and “no apparent loss to any member arising from reading the fact sheet”. They also stated that, “the error was minor and an accidental omission of a component of Media Super’s fees, which was corrected immediately after being identified.”

The industry fund issued a statement that read: “Media Super is vigilant in ensuring that it meets all of its regulatory obligations. Media Super is equally vigilant in cautioning members about the potential costs and risks of self-managed super funds, and will continue to do so.”

However, Quantum Financial’s principal Tim Mackay disagrees on the severity of the fine commenting that, “a $10,200 fine for a large institution is a “drop in the ocean”.  Mackay reiterated that, “I don’t think it really sends the right message to the institution itself and to the rest of the market… there needs to be more of a rap over the knuckles than that in my opinion.”

The SPAA issued a statement claiming that,” penalty represents a warning shot to APRA-regulated funds about their public commentary on SMSFs and SPAA’s Graeme Colley commented that, “making comparisons between different superannuation sectors is an apples and oranges approach.”

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