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Old 12-08-2015, 11:02 AM
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Default Overseas properties, investment schemes to come under advertising guidelines

ENHANCED guidelines under Singapore's code of advertising practice unveiled on Monday have widened the regulatory scope for advertisements on investments to include overseas properties and investment schemes, and even investment seminars.

From Aug 12, these advertisements have to comply with a higher standard of warnings, disclosures and qualifications to ensure potential risks are properly highlighted to the public; they should also not contain claims that give the impression that an investment is safe, low-risk or risk-free or can generate quick, easy or high profits with little or no risk.

Among the new guidelines, advertisements on overseas property-related investments should clearly state what investors are acquiring (such as interest in the land, building, or property within the building). Advertisements on overseas real properties cannot mislead or exaggerate their actual location, physical nature, legal titles, and the developers' financial position. For properties being developed, their advertisements have to state the building permit or approval numbers and the identity of the issuing authority.

These guidelines apply to all media platforms, including online advertisements, said the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS), an advisory council under the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon told The Business Times that the review started 11/2 years ago, amid a proliferation of advertisements on overseas properties and investment instruments. Advertisements on seminars promising that attendees could earn S$100,000 in a few months in some cases also caught regulator's attention.

"We want to make sure that if they make such claims, they need to substantiate," said Mr Seah. "If they do not comply with our requirements, we will not allow the advertisements to see light of day."

The new guidelines are also seen levelling the playing field between local and overseas developers, hence closing up the loophole that overseas developers are not subject to local requirements when they promote their projects here.

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