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Advertising Financial Products and Services: Obligations and ASIC’s Expectations

ASIC is reminding advertisers of financial services and products that they are actively monitoring financial services advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will act where they find misleading claims and predatory behaviour.

ASIC has established a new cross-team advertising working group, that is focused on searching for advertisements that:

  1. are potentially misleading or deceptive; and
  2. help ASIC to identify products or services which are unsuitable or inappropriate and may be seeking to exploit people in the current environment.

ASIC is monitoring a wide range of products and services advertisements across a wide range of media, including social media. They are using a mix of traditional and innovative regtech monitoring tools to conduct such monitoring.

All advertisers of financial services and products are reminded that compliance with legal obligations, particularly the prohibition of false or misleading representations, is essential during this time of uncertainty.

Warnings, disclaimers and qualifications should not be inconsistent with other content in an advertisement, including any headline claims. Every warning, disclaimer and/or qualification should have sufficient prominence in order to effectively convey key information to a reasonable audience on first viewing the advertisement.

Some obligations, that should be considered when advertising financial services and products, can be found in ASIC Regulatory Guide 234, and may include:

  • Licensee Details;
  • Target Audience;
  • Benefits and Risks;
  • Warnings, Qualifications, and Disclaimers;
  • Fees and Charges; and
  • The use of Prohibited and Closely Scrutinised words.

If you are unsure what obligations are applicable to your business, you can purchase the Sophie Grace Marketing Checklist for AFSL holders or ACL holders. This document is a working document and will assist as you develop marketing materials.

If you have any concerns or are worried about your advertising obligations. Please contact Sophie Grace for further information.

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