The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced the cancellation of the Australian Financial Services (AFS) license of The Australian Dealer Group Pty Ltd (ADG). ASIC finds that the business model of ADG was not created to comply with the obligation to act efficiently, honestly, or fairly when providing financial services.
According to ASIC, ADG has prioritized its own interests over the consumers’ interests. It has also violated the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO’s) terms and conditions and acted without the consent or instruction of consumers. The company has charged fees for superannuation consolidation on an ad hoc basis, without transparency, fairness, or consistency. ADG has pressured consumers into signing Superannuation Consolidation Agreements over the phone, including by not providing time to read its terms and conditions prior to seeking agreement.
ASIC also deems that consumers were potentially exposed to harm, including loss of insurance held through superannuation, extra fees and ATO penalties for inappropriate access to superannuation.
ADG operated a website called ‘Australian Super Finder’ through which a consumer could request a search for lost superannuation. ADG offered to consolidate a consumer’s ‘found’ superannuation into a new superannuation fund or a ‘temporary recovery account’.