The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released a warning to the real estate industry regarding recommending self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) as an investment vehicle to acquire real property: ASIC warns real estate industry about recommending property investment through SMSFs.
ASIC is concerned that real estate agents and other participants in the property industry may (inadvertently or otherwise) be breaching their obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 by recommending or advising purchasers to acquire property in an SMSF without holding the appropriate Australian Financial Services licence. Penalties for providing such advice without a licence include a fine of up to $34,000 or 2 years imprisonment for individuals, or a fine of up to $170,000 for corporations.
Although ASIC’s warning is not directly addressed to landowners or property developers, these entities may in certain circumstances be held liable for a breach of the Corporations Act 2001 by an agent acting on their behalf.
Anyone involved in the development or sale of property should review their sales and marketing materials and practices to ensure they are not providing recommendations or advice in relation to using an SMSF to acquire property or other investment assets unless they are appropriately licenced.
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