ASIC has begun legal action in the Federal Court seeking financial penalties and orders to prevent Superannuation Warehouse Australia (SWA) from flogging free SMSF set-ups.
The advertising appeared on two websites, superannuationwarehouse.com.au and smsfwarehouse.com.au.
SWA provides online accounting and administration services for SMSFs.
ASIC claimed SWA engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to financial services.
In addition, it said it believed the firm made false or misleading representations when it promoted the free set up of SMSFs on the websites without clearly disclosing that conditions and charges were associated with the free set-up service.
On top of the declarations, injunctions and financial penalties, ASIC is seeking orders requiring SWA to implement a compliance program and post notices on the websites and notify consumers, who applied to SWA for the free SMSF set-up service, about the proceedings.
ASIC’s actions came out of its SMSF Taskforce, established in 2012 as a way to ramp up its attentions on the fastest-growing sector of the super industry.
The taskforce continues to meet regularly to examine high-risk and emerging SMSF issues, such as property spruiking to SMSFs, unlicensed conduct, and false and misleading advertising promoting SMSFs.
ASIC said SMSFs were also a focus of its enforcement work and would continue to be throughout 2015.