Full Federal Court throws out Mayfair 101 appeal against $30m penalty

Full Federal Court throws out Mayfair 101 appeal against $30m penalty

The Full Federal Court has dismissed an appeal by the Mayfair 101 Group seeking to overturn the findings of misleading or deceptive advertising, and a penalty of $30 million relating to that decision.

It is the latest setback for the company helmed by director James Mawhinney, who had a win in a separate legal bout with the corporate watchdog in September when the Federal Court ordered a retrial on the basis he was denied procedural fairness.

A date for the retrial is yet to be confirmed.

This latest decision pertains to a March 2021 Federal Court decision which found the Mayfair 101 group of companies engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations when promoting financial products.

In December 2021, the court awarded penalties totalling $30 million against the Mayfair companies as a result.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) deputy chair Sarah Court said the watchdog pursued the case because of ‘the important of accurate advertising of financial products’.

“We were concerned that the advertising by the Mayfair 101 Group represented that their products were of a similar risk profile to bank term deposits, when that was not the case,” Court said.

“The decision to uphold the original findings of the Federal Court, and ASIC’s case that the Mayfair 101 Group’s advertising was misleading or deceptive, is a message to industry that financial products need to be accurately advertised or companies may risk substantial penalties.”

The appeal was otherwise dismissed and the Full Court ordered the Mayfair companies to pay ASIC’s costs of the appeal.

Mayfair 101 has been approached for comment.

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