ASIC crackdown on financials misleading advertising

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has this week stepped up efforts to crack down on false or misleading advertising.

One prominent mortgage broker has already fallen foul of the heightened scrutiny, attracting three separate fines of $10,200 relating to misleading advertisements run during 2012.

Some commentators have welcomed the move, saying that ASIC's vigilance will help to strengthen customer safeguards and, crucially, bolster consumer confidence.

A recent paper released by the Treasury confirmed that consumer confidence, financial literacy and product regulation each play an integral role in buttressing the economy and contributing to the overall well being of Australians.

But other observers have not been so positive, criticising the severity of ASIC's penalties in relation to company profits, and arguing that most fines are too small to deter big advertisers from offending.

More broadly, onlookers are continuing to encourage any initiatives to enhance transparency across the financial sector, including educational campaigns and comparison websites.

Marketing disruptor sites like Mozo will continue to play an important role in helping consumers make informed decisions about financial products by collating objective data on the market. Making information surrounding financial products transparent and navigable will also hold companies accountable for the fine print and confusing financial jargon.

With consumer confidence on the rise, it appears that ASIC's new regime and the ongoing assistance of financial comparators like Mozo can facilitate a difference, working to create a more secure and transparent financial sector by allowing consumers to easily compare a broad rage of products available in the market.