The Federal Court has ordered MobiSuper Pty Limited (MobiSuper) and MobiSuper’s financial services licensee, ZIB Financial Pty Limited (ZIB), to pay combined penalties of $250,000 for failures surrounding promotion of the MobiSuper Fund.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘Superannuation is important for the future financial security of Australians. It is essential that consumers, when choosing their super fund, are not misled or given personal advice that is not in their best interests.’
MobiSuper customer service officers (CSOs) telephoned customers, including those who accepted the offer from MobiSuper of a search service to identify ‘lost’ superannuation held in accounts operated by other superannuation providers or the Australian Taxation Office.
The Court found that, in marketing telephone calls, MobiSuper CSOs:
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- provided personal advice without acting in the best interests of those consumers; and
- failed to warn consumers that the advice provided was based on incomplete or inaccurate information.
The Federal Court also found that MobiSuper:
- made misleading claims that consumers could save fees by opening an account with the MobiSuper Fund and consolidating or rolling over their superannuation into the account;
- failed to provide any Statements of Advice to consumers as required by law.
MobiSuper’s licensee, ZIB, has been ordered to pay a penalty for failures by MobiSuper CSOs and for ZIB’s failure to take reasonable steps to ensure that those failures did not occur. The Federal Court also found that ZIB did not comply with its obligation to ensure that the financial services covered by its licence, as provided by MobiSuper, were provided efficiently, honestly and fairly.
‘ASIC took on this case because of concerns that personal advice was being provided without the relevant legal protections, and consumers were being misled into moving their superannuation into the MobiSuper Fund. This practice was not focussed on what was best for the consumer. ASIC will continue to work to ensure licensees comply with the law and correctly monitor their corporate authorised representatives to prevent poor promotional behaviour,’ concluded Ms Court.
In her decision, Justice Charlesworth found that ZIB’s ‘acts and omissions fall short of the “sound ethical values and judgment” that are expected of a financial services licensee and constitutes a “serious departure from reasonable standards of performance of advice.”’
MobiSuper was the corporate authorised representative of ZIB’s financial services licence. MobiSuper was the promoter for the MobiSuper Fund, which is a division of the Tidswell Master Superannuation Plan.
The Federal Court previously declared that Tidswell Financial Services Ltd, the trustee of the Tidswell Master Superannuation Plan at the relevant time, failed to do all things necessary to ensure that the financial services covered by its licence were provided efficiently, honestly and fairly (21-190MR). Tidswell had contracted MobiSuper to promote the MobiSuper Fund to prospective members.