ASIC warns SMSFs off bitcoins

The deputy chair of ASIC has voiced concerns about SMSF trustees "throwing money into bitcoins".

Speaking at the Financial Services Council annual conference in Cairns this week, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell pointed to reports that SMSF trustees are investing in the online currency bitcoin.

“That's the sort of issue we want to ensure doesn't become a problem down the track,” said Mr Kell.

ASIC's SMSF taskforce is continuing to focus on some of the more “problematic practices” in the sector, he continued.

 

“[The taskforce is looking at] aggressive property spruiking directed towards SMSFs and misleading ads to try and deal with the problem end of the market,” said Mr Kell.

The regulator is also keeping a close eye on organisations that encourage people to get into SMSFs “when they clearly do not understand what they're getting into”, he said.

“Thankfully, while we have seen some of those issues emerge, they're not widespread throughout the sector – and we don't [want] it to become widespread,” said Mr Kell.

ASIC has seen “first hand” the impact of “inappropriate borrowing strategies” in the SMSF market – something that “was at the heart of the [Storm Financial] fiasco”, he said.

“We would want to ensure that the risks that are emerging in the SMSF sector are limited,” said Mr Kell.

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