70 complaints against real estate agents on early release super: ASIC

14 April 2020

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has revealed it received around 70 reports from the public expressing concern about real estate agents referencing the ability of tenants and other to obtain early access to their superannuation.

The regulator has revealed that, in the first instance, it became aware of the real estate agents’ activity via a staff member who received a letter from an agent and via social media.

Answering a question on notice from the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, ASIC said that “between 3 April, 2020, and 7 April, 2020, ASIC received approximately 70 reports of misconduct from members of the public”.

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However, the regulator said that it had not yet decided to take action with respect to those reports.

Explaining how it had come to write a letter warning real estate agents about giving advice around early release super, ASIC said that before its letter dated 3 April, 2020, “an ASIC member of staff initially flagged a letter they had received from their real estate agent about applying for the early release of superannuation funds to meet rental payments, if they were experiencing financial difficulty”.

“ASIC also received one report of misconduct from a member of public raising similar concerns,” it said. “ASIC’s review of twitter had indicated early concerns being identified by tenants of messaging from agents on behalf of landlords.”

“ASIC is unable to provide copies of the correspondence received by the ASIC staff member or the report of misconduct received from the member of the public as this material was received in confidence,” ASIC said.

“Further, on 1 April, 2020, ASIC received a letter from Mr Stephen Jones MP expressing concern about unqualified financial advice being given by real estate agents that may not be in the best interests of individuals.”

Jones is the shadow Assistant Treasurer and his letter urged ASIC to issue a warning to real estate agents.

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70 complaints? FASEA them quick smart! ASIC will need to charge every real estate agent a levy now as they cant justify using our money for these types of investigations. User pays?? After all a 5% commission on a 1M property isnt bad money for not a lot of work, maybe they will require degrees now and to sit a national exam, be required to act in the clients best interest, and oh thats right it would decimate them, like its doing to us .

Time for ASIC to show it is serious by prosecuting those whom are unlicensed to give advice. Especially at a time when so many people are so vulnerable.

" However the regulator said it had not yet decided to take action with respect to those reports".
This is different to has decided to NOT take action, however, lets see where this ends up.
I suspect absolutely nowhere...this will be let go as simply being too hard when they are focusing all their vindictive might against advisers and have been for the last 5 years.
I bet there will not be another word on this matter.

Then ASIC and ATO can go for the Medical industry for early release of Super for all the beauty cosmetic work like 'Boob & booty jobs', 'dental' and of course the ambulance chasing solicitors, that charge at 27%+ for their 'No win No Fee' services for Insurance and other Centrelink type

Handing out a Treasury Fact Sheet (on Early Release super] is general information, not advice. If ASIC wishes to prosecute real estate agents, they had better start with Treasury first. Enough of this waffle.

What bullshit.
I can bet the Real Estate agents are not handing out Treasury Fact sheets in a bid to save their own arse and maintain both their residential and commercial rent role ( license to print money with little input).
They will be suggesting to their tenants they consider accessing this option for cashflow purposes which actually does constitute advice.
This is the equivalent to advisers recommending early release of their clients superannuation monies in order to pay a monthly advice fee charged from the clients bank account.
Real Estate agents are notorious for blatantly advertising " Great Investment Opportunity for your SMSF " without any justification, comparison or ramifications.
It's not waffle Steve, it's a stack of pancakes so high you cant see over it and it needs to be addressed immediately.

Why not litigate ASIC?

Oh, the irony. I wonder how many people will pick up on the significance of quoting the actual words of the Regulator back to them.

because the real estate lobby groups are so powerful and ASIC does not want to upset them or butt heads with them as they would be destroyed and would not have a future job after they leave ASIC, as they inevitably have to because it is a toxic organization

persecuting financial planners suits the narratives of militant "consumer advocate" and extreme fringe associations such as choice and some media personality types.

furthermore, most financial planners are SME's who haven't got the deep pockets to go through litigation on principle so they just fold.

ASIC knows this, that is why financial planners are constantly attacked. the FPA and AFA are cowering good for nothing idiotic organizations that do not stand up for financial planners other than issuing meaningless threats on this forum.

any fair-minded adviser who is still a member of these two bodies should be ashamed of themselves.

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