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Property group penalised for misleading investors

By Huntley Mitchell
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A Queensland property investment group has been fined by ASIC for producing potentially misleading online advertisements.

Kovacs Property Group paid a $10,800 penalty to comply with an ASIC infringement notice after the advertisements were published in late 2015 and early 2016 on www.positivefuture.com.au.

The website is used to promote the Investment Samaritan Offer, an investment offered within the Guardian Investment Fund.

ASIC said it was concerned that the website emphasised the safety of the investment in terms of the return of capital and sustainable quarterly returns without providing an explanation of the key risks involved.

Of particular concern, ASIC said the website did not explain that the funds invested are loaned to Investment Samaritan, or of the risk that this company could default on the loan.

Investment Samaritan is reliant on US-based companies identifying and sourcing distressed US credit card issuers and collecting credit card debts from US-based consumers in order to meet its obligations to investors under the loan, according to ASIC.

The corporate watchdog said Kovacs Property Group had acted to revise the website once it was approached by ASIC and has co-operated to address the regulator’s concerns.

ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said advertisements for financial products and credit products should give a balanced message about the returns, features, benefits and risks associated with a product.

“ASIC will take action to address misleading or inaccurate advertising of investment opportunities to ensure investors are informed in their decision-making,” he said.

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