Hostplus pays $12,600 penalty for allegedly misleading claims

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Industry super fund Hostplus has paid a penalty relating to allegedly misleading claims, according to ASIC.

The regulator announced that Hostplus has paid a $12,600 Infringement Notice penalty, relating to “alleged misleading claims about offering ‘independent advice’ in a recorded telephone message on HostPlus’ main consumer telephone number”.

ASIC notes that the payment of an Infringement Notice is not an admission of a contravention of the ASIC Act.

ASIC says that HostPlus is licensed to act as the trustee of specified super funds and provide financial services.

“From at least July 2016 to late March 2018, the recorded telephone message referred to a free consultation available to members with an Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS) licensed financial planner. It then referred to the advice as ‘independent’.”

ASIC investigated if this was a misleading representation, following a complaint.

“ASIC was concerned that HostPlus and IFS were not independent of each other because HostPlus employees were appointed as authorised representatives to provide financial advice under IFS’ Australian financial services license, HostPlus paid service fees to IFS for adviser services and at the relevant time, HostPlus was a shareholder of IFS’ ultimate holding company.”

After ASIC raised concerns, HostPlus “immediately removed the use of the word ‘independent’ from the recorded telephone message”.

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