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The war of independence

Money Managers finally won a round in the war over independence.

Tuesday, February 27th 2001, 8:26AM

Money Managers has successfully won an appeal against an Advertising Standards Complaints Board decision on the use of the word independence.

Last year the company complained to the board over a rival firm's use of the word in a newspaper advertisement.

That firm, Financial Vision, claimed to be independent because it portfolio monitoring service was charged purely on a fee basis. However, it said on its website that under its standard charging option the company is able to receive "any brokerage that is payable from the placement of any insurance or investments."

Money Managers marketing manager Al Scott took exception to the ad, based on a 1997 ruling by the board against his firm. In that decision the board said if a planning firm received any commissions, trailing commissions, soft dollar arrangements or benefits from product providers, which may tend to create a product bias, then the firm could not call itself independent.

In his appeal against the Financial Vision ad, Scott pointed out that Financial Vision provided customers with an option where it can take brokerage for any insurance or investment it places.

"This contradicts the statement made by the advertiser to the board," Scott said in his appeal.

He also asks if the board has “ascertained whether the company name under which they trade, Financial Vision, received brokerage, commission or trails.”

In response to the appeal Financial Vision says it is independent because it doesn’t receive any brokerage, commissions or trails.

However, it says the option shown on its website which refers to commissions and brokerages is no longer offered. Financial Vision also asked the board for a ruling on whether the information on its website constitutes advertising.

In its written decision the board said the content of the website did come within its jurisdication.

It said because the print advertisement referred to the website address, the contents of those web pages was relevant.

Because the site said Financial Vision did accept brokerage and commission, its print advertisement was in breach of the advertising code, it said.

To read earlier story click here

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