A superannuation fund targeting millennial investors has been fined by the corporate regulator over misleading claims in its marketing.
ASIC has penalised super fund Spaceship for statements made about the investment strategy of one of its portfolios, ‘GrowthX’, on its website in 2017.
According to the regulator, Spaceship told prospective members:
“We will fight to get you the very best assets in your portfolio … We will measure companies in our portfolio based on their ability to provide defensibility of profits and high levels of product differentiation.”
However, ASIC said 79 per cent of the fund was invested in index-tracking funds at the time, involving no qualitative analysis of underlying companies.
Spaceship and its trustee, Tidswell Financial Services, have each been fined $12,600 over the claims.
The regulator said it issued the infringement notices following concerns marketing was prioritised over accurate disclosure.
“ASIC’s view is that the Spaceship website could have been clearer about the process by which investment decisions are made by including additional information contained in Spaceship’s product disclosure statement,” Spaceship said in a statement.
“The website was immediately amended to address ASIC’s concerns.”
Younger savers in Spaceship’s sights
Spaceship was launched in 2017 after raising funds from investors, including Mike Cannon-Brookes, the co-founder of New York-listed Australian tech firm Atlassian.
On its website, the technology-focused fund spruiks its youth focus: “Young people have changed, but their super hasn’t.”
In a statement, ASIC said accurate promotion of super products was critical, particularly as Spaceship is focused on younger investors.
“New entrants to the superannuation sector have the potential to offer benefits to consumers, but it is critical that they provide accurate and clear information, especially if they are targeting a younger demographic,” ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said.
Today, Spaceship said it was committed to supporting the evolution of the financial technology sector in Australia.
“Our paramount concern and responsibility is to act in our members’ best interests, and the challenge for all industry participants is to meet both regulatory standards and innovation demands from consumers,” it said.