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This week in Penalties...

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Publishing company liable for misleading and deceptive conduct

Port Phillip Publishing and its former Director, Krystan Sayce, made misleading and deceptive statements in investment strategies that targeted investors and as a result has received penalties of $600,000 for the company and a further $50,000 for the former director.

‘If investors had adopted the investment strategy in PPP’s Guide, they were likely to have generated lower returns than the returns promoted in the Promo Letter and this exposed investors to a greater level of risk than that adopted by the Future Fund in September 2017. ASIC seeks to promote confident and informed participation of investors, and in this case, investors were misled,’ said ASIC Deputy Chair Daniel Crennan.

Deceptive director

Former Director of Parklane Assets, Gela Anne Newitt, has plead guilty recently to gaining financial advantage by deceptive means.

ASIC alleged that Newitt promised residents of Mentone Gardens their deposited money would be held in trust; however, in fact it was used to cover business costs.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Misleading and deceptive conduct in the health industry

The competition and consumer regulator is taking Medibank to the Federal Court for misleading members with regards to the nature of their policies between February 2013 and July 2018. Members with policies that covered joint investigations and reconstruction procedures were told that in fact their coverage did not qualify them for rebates for these procedures.

The regulator said that, “The ACCC is seeking penalties, consumer redress, declarations, injunctions, publication orders, the implementation of a compliance program and costs.”

Australian Financial Complaints Authority

Firms named

The reputational risk stakes have been raised for organisations that breach their obligations when it results in poor outcomes for consumers and small businesses.

Earlier this week, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority listed the names of 29 financial institutions, starting with those that owe the most, at $483,200 as of 31 August, to those that owe the least, at $80.

This comes after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) confirmed a rule change to permit AFCA to name financial institutions in determinations, while the consumers who have actually made the complaint will continue to be anonymous.

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