The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has confirmed that it sometimes does not take action against allegations of false and misleading advertising around superannuation if it believes the complainants could take legal action themselves.
In an answer to a question on notice from Tasmanian Liberal Senator, David Bushby, ASIC acknowledged receiving complaints about false and misleading advertising, including some involving Industry Super Australia's (ISA's) "compare the pair" advertising.
However, it noted that if some of those making the complaints were competitors with resources adequate to pursue the issue on their own behalves.
"As noted, we do receive complaints and on occasions we take no further action partly because the entity could take action for itself," the ASIC answer said.
"Many of the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 provide an ability for another party, such as an aggrieved member, to take action."
The ASIC answer also appeared to reference industry fund concerns about superannuation services offered by the major banks.
"This year , we have received at least two complaints from a trustee who is concerned by the promotional material of their competitors, particularly with regards to comparative advertising sent to employers looking to make changes to their default fund arrangements," the ASIC answer said.
"While we may well take action in the future about promotional material to employers (and have warned the industry of this), we did not consider that the cases presented to us warranted further action and the trustee who raised the issues could take action for themselves."