ASIC takes alleged SMSF spruiker to court

12 November 2014

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken its case against a property company to the Supreme Court, arguing the group is spruiking the use of self-managed super funds without a licence.

Park Trent Properties Group has advised at least 500 people to create SMSFs to then invest in investment properties owned or promoted by its companies, ASIC understands.

ASIC says it has been doing so without an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) and has sought a court order to prevent future activity.

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The regulator also wants Park Trent to get in touch with current and former clients about their unlicensed status and post a notice on its website.

ASIC has long-stated that people should seek professional financial advice before starting their own SMSF.

"It is important when making decisions regarding superannuation to consider obtaining appropriate advice from an authorised financial adviser," ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said.

"Dealing with an authorised adviser affords specific protections under the law, such as acting in the best interests of clients, a duty to avoid conflicts of interest and providing access to dispute resolution schemes."

ASIC's property investigation also saw the regulator accept an enforceable undertaking from Gold Coast-based financial planning and property management company, Equanimity.

ASIC said that it found the group's compliance regime "unsatisfactory" and was particularly concerned about a series of ads that said investors could pay off their 25 year loan in less than five years.

Under the EU, Equanimity is required to appoint an independent consultant to align its compliance with consumer protection laws and scrupulous advertising processes.

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