Misleading investment property claims cost developer more than $40,000

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A Perth based developer, the Nicheliving group, has been hit with more than $40,000 in fines after it was found to have made misleading investment property claims. 

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) issued infringement notices to Australian Property Alliance Pty Ltd (APA) and imposed new licence conditions on the Australian credit licence of Wealth WA Pty Ltd (WWA), which provided financial services in the course of the Nicheliving group's primary business, property development and real estate sales

ASIC issued APA with four infringement notices carrying a combined $40,800 worth of fines for misleading advertisements published on various websites administered by APA, the Nicheliving Facebook page, YouTube, as well as on television channels 1, 9, 10, 11 and GEM during the period 14 May 2014 to 16 October 2014. 

The advertisements claimed that investors could purchase an investment property from "just $59 per week,” but did not contain any further information about the strategy of operating a negatively geared investment strategy or that investors are required to enter into a mortgage to finance the purchase of the property and to pay an upfront amount of $35,000.  

ASIC also took issues with claims made by AWA that its financial services could allow investors pay off their mortgages in eight years instead of 30, legally reduce their tax to nil and increase their net worth by $100,000 by investing $59 per week.

In addition to fines, APA and AWA have agreed to engage an independent compliance consultant to review their respective advertising policies and procedures and adopt training procedures to ensure their staff are informed of legal requirements in relation to marketing undertaken in connection with financial products or financial services. 

The requirement to engage an independent compliance consultant will be included as a condition of WWA's credit license

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