The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has recently published Information Sheet INFO 269, to help social media influencers, who discuss financial products and services online, understand their obligations under the law.
It also provides guidance on the obligations and potential liability of Australian financial services (AFS) licensees who use influencers to promote their services.
ASIC has confirmed that it currently monitors selected online financial discussions by influencers who feature or promote financial products for any misleading or deceptive representations or unlicensed financial services.
Common pitfalls for influencers are:
- when discussing financial services products, influencers may be providing financial product advice or arranging for their followers to deal in a financial product, in circumstances where they may be breaching the law, if they do not hold an AFS licence or are not exempt or are not authorised to provide those services as a representative of another person who holds an AFS licence; and
- influencers' content, representations or comments are not accurate and balanced, in which case influencers could be engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct.
If you’re an influencer who receives benefits or payment for your comments in relation to financial products, you're more likely to be providing financial product advice because it indicates an intention to influence the audience.