November 7, 2019
ASIC has commenced action in the Federal Court in South Australia focused on the promotion of the MobiSuper Fund, a division of the Tidswell Master Superannuation Plan (Fund).
The action is against:
- Superannuation trustee and AFS licensee, Tidswell Financial Services Ltd
- Mobi’s AFS licensee ZIB Financial Pty Limited
- A director of Mobi and ZIB, Andrew Richard Grover
The regulator stated its concern about potential harm to consumers if professional superannuation trustees fail to adequately monitor the activities of their promoters.
“Trustees have responsibilities in relation to the actions of their promoters,” ASIC stated in a release.
“ASIC is concerned that Tidswell and ZIB failed to do all things necessary to ensure the financial services covered by their respective AFS licences were provided efficiently, honestly and fairly.”
ASIC alleges the following:
- That false and misleading statements were made about superannuation, insurance products and services
- That both Tidswell and ZIB failed to adequately monitor Mobi’s promotion of the Fund through a purported ‘general advice model’ that had insufficient regard for consumers’ best interests
- That Mobi offered an obligation-free ‘lost super’ search to consumers through internet advertising campaigns with the primary objective to get consumers to join the Fund and roll their other super balances into Mobi-promoted products
- In marketing telephone calls to consumers, Mobi customer service officers (CSOs) made misleading claims about fee savings and equivalent insurance cover if consumers joined the Fund and provided personal advice that was not in consumers’ best interests
ASIC is seeking civil penalties against:
- Tidswell and ZIB for advice given to consumers by Mobi CSOs in breach of the best interest obligations
- Mobi and Grover for the misleading internet advertising campaigns
- Mobi for the false and misleading claims made by CSOs during marketing calls
ASIC stated that it is also seeking various declarations, including under the Corporations Act that Tidswell and ZIB failed to comply with their obligations as AFS licensees and under the ASIC Act that Mobi engaged in (and Grover was knowingly concerned in) misleading conduct.
The regulator added that this action has been taken following consultation and collaboration with APRA, which also has responsibility for regulating Tidswell under the SIS Act. APRA has supported ASIC with its investigation and has provided ASIC with a delegation of certain functions and powers under the SIS Act in relation to Tidswell in order to achieve appropriate regulatory outcomes.
The proceeding will be listed for case management on a date to be determined by the Court.