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Australia warns social media influencers they need a license to dish out financial advice

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

March 22, 2022 | 3 min read

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) has announced that social media influencers will need a license to give financial advice or face jail time.

Calling them “finfluencers”, Asic said it has noticed the rise of influencers who promise big returns or back unverified investments. They warned that influencers who benefit from providing links to online brokers require a license.

Influencers

Asic is currently engaged in a legal battle with Tyson Scholz (@asxwolf_ts)

This comes after a study commissioned by Asic found that a third of Australians between 18 and 21 followed financial influencers on social media, and a further 64% reported changing their behavior due to ‘finfluencer’ posts.

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“It is crucial that influencers who discuss financial products and services online comply with the financial services laws. If they don’t, they risk substantial penalties and put investors at risk,” said Cathie Armour, the commissioner of Asic.

Asic is currently engaged in a legal battle with Tyson Scholz (@asxwolf_ts), an influencer who has luxury sports cars and yachts on his feed. He is being accused of delivering training courses and seminars about trading in securities on the Australian Securities Exchange without a license.

He is also alleged to have offered stock tips and access to a Discord chat server named Black Wolf Pit. Scholz is currently contesting the charges.

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