Some mob of aggressive floggers of Kiwisaver to uninformed lower socio-economic families has indulged in a bit of comparative advertising by e-mail.
(God knows why they pursue this business so hard as there's no money to be made out of it. The broker principal no doubt expects to make a fortune out of trail commission paid on accumulated account balances. Well Adolf has news for him. It won't take too many more episodes such as this for him to have his agency agreement cancelled. Goodbye trail commissions. If this is the same outfit which has been running around door to door then I'd say he is close to being sacked.)
This has upset the victims of their apparent perfidy, ASB and ANZ - both of whom are notable for lamentable historical investment performance - resulting in complaints to the Securities Commission. It's at about this stage that the Herald repeater starts to bend the story away from the truth.
The astute reader will note that the response to the complaint by the Securities Commission is muted, to say the least.
"The email claims Fidelity's KiwiSaver funds are "rated number one across the board" with the best performance of all providers across its conservative, balanced, growth and aggressive funds and includes an attachment comparing investment returns with those of Huljich Wealth Management, ANZ Bank and ASB Bank. Under the figures for ANZ and ASB it states: "They are losing your money."A spokeswoman for the Securities Commission said it was not illegal for providers to talk up their investment products or compare their performance to others as long as the promotion was not misleading, deceptive or confusing."
That's because the idiot salesmen used information which was not inaccurate even though it was not authorised for publication. Technically they were not in breach but ethically they leave much to be desired.
The astute reader then moves to the last paragraph in which the repeater piously quotes Morningstar figures which would have you believe that the fund manager being pilloried is telling lies. Not so. It is the Herald which is telling lies by insinuation and omission.
"A Morningstar report released last week found Fidelity's conservative fund was 10th out of 14 funds, its balanced fund was third out of 20, its growth fund was second out of 17 and its aggressive fund was third out of nine over the two years to September 30."
You see, dear friends, the figures used by the salesmen were the investment performance figures for Kiwisaver fund for the last three months. The Morningstar figures published in the Herald were for the past two years' investment performance.
Is it too much to ask that, just for once, the media could simply tell the truth without the spin?