ASIC Crackdown on Finance Influencers
In an age of internet influence, it’s ever more important to make sure any advice is credible, especially when it comes to financial advice.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission released an information sheet in March outlining the various legal obligations of online influencers when discussing financial products or services in the digital space, including whether:
- you are providing financial product advice or arranging for your followers to deal in a financial product. If you carry on a business of providing financial services, you must hold an AFS licence (unless you are exempt or are authorised to provide those services as a representative of another person who holds an AFS licence). Otherwise, you may be in breach of the licensing requirements under the law
- your content is accurate and balanced. If your online post is misleading, you may be breaking the law.
Issues to consider for influencers
ASIC outlined a number of issues to be considered by online finance influencers, including:
- Do I need an AFS licence?
- Am I familiar with relevant regulatory advice?
- Have I done my due diligence on people paying me?
Penalties for unlicensed operators
The purpose of the information sheet is to highlight the risks involved for unlicensed financial influencers, including up to five years’ imprisonment for individuals and financial penalties into the millions of dollars for a corporation.
Reporting unlicensed activity to ASIC
Unlicensed activity can be reported to ASIC on our how to complain webpage or by calling 1300 300 630 so that we can consider appropriate regulatory action.