Tougher rules for ads on investment

Tougher guidelines to regulate advertisements on investments, including those in overseas properties, take effect on Aug 12.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas) is implementing the new guidelines to clamp down on the rise in misleading and unsubstantiated adverts.

These frequently promote overseas property investments or services such as wealth management seminars and seminars teaching trading strategies.

They may promise high or guaranteed returns without sufficient warnings about the financial, legal or regulatory risks, such as restrictions on sale of properties by foreign citizens, or potential tax liabilities, said Asas in a statement yesterday.

Consumers are often unaware of the risk of limited legal redress, or the possibility of losing their invested capital.

Asas received 41 cases of feedback about such ads from January 2013 to May this year, with 12 concerning overseas property investments that contained unsubstantiated claims.

In that same period, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) received 23 complaints regarding overseas property investments, with most involving consumers who had put their money in, but were unable to get back their promised returns.

Asas, an advisory council under Case, developed the new rules in consultation with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Council for Estate Agencies.

Advertisers and media owners with contracts signed before Aug 12 will get a three-month grace period until Nov 11 to fulfil the existing contractual requirements and adhere to the new rules.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2015, with the headline 'Tougher rules for ads on investment'. Print Edition | Subscribe