The Federal Court of Australia penalised a Sydney-based managed investment services boutique for falsely claiming that its projects were approved by ASIC.
Huntley Management operates as a responsible entity and custodian for registered schemes and as trustee and manager for wholesale schemes. It was ordered to pay $50,000 for making false and misleading statements on its website and in two national newspaper advertisements between 21 September 2010 and 7 October 2015.
Huntley advertised that its investment projects were 'approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission', but admitted to the regulator that this was misleading. Huntley also consented to - and was accused by the Federal Court - of two instances in which it contravened section 12DB of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2011.
As such, and in addition to the penalty, Huntley was ordered to post notices on its website about the statements being misleading and to also pay ASIC's litigation costs.
In his judgment, Justice Perram stated that the statements about 'approved' investment projects were false and misleading because Huntley's projects had not been approved by ASIC.
"It was true that the schemes were registered with ASIC but...I do not think that this is remotely what the word 'approved' conveys," he said.
The decision handed down by the Federal Court follows Huntley's failure to pay two infringement notices of $10,200 each issued by the regulator in October 2015 in regards to the statements and advertisements. Following this, ASIC conducted further investigations and subsequently issued civil penalty proceedings in September 2016.