The Full Federal Court has dismissed an appeal by the Mayfair 101 Group companies seeking to overturn the findings of misleading or deceptive advertising, and a penalty of $30 million that the Court imposed on the companies after ASIC action, other than in respect of an injunction against the companies restraining the companies from using certain specified phrases in their advertising, marketing or promotion which the Full Court has set aside.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said ‘ASIC pursued this case through the Federal Court because of the importance of accurate advertising of financial products. We were concerned that the advertising by the Mayfair 101 Group represented that their products were of a similar risk profile to bank term deposits, when that was not the case.
‘The decision to uphold the original findings of the Federal Court, and ASIC’s case that the Mayfair 101 Group’s advertising was misleading or deceptive, is a message to industry that financial products need to be accurately advertised or companies may risk substantial penalties.’
In March 2021, the Federal Court found Australian Income Solutions (previously Mayfair Wealth Partners), M101 Holdings, M101 Nominees and Online Investments (trading as Mayfair 101) engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations when promoting the M+ and M Core Fixed Income Notes (21-055MR). In December 2021, the Court awarded penalties totalling $30 million against the Mayfair companies (21-364MR).
The Full Court set aside orders made on 21 January 2022 restraining the Mayfair companies from using certain specified phrases such as ‘bank deposit’ and ‘term deposit’ in their advertising, marketing or promotion on the basis that this injunction was ‘too broad and unworkable’.
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The appeal was otherwise dismissed and the Full Court ordered the Mayfair companies to pay ASIC’s costs of the appeal.