ISLAMABAD - The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has passed an order imposing a penalty of Rs2 million on the Society of Accounting Education (SOAE) for deceptively showing its affiliation with the world renowned CFA Institute in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.

A CCP bench comprising Chairperson Vadiyya Khalil and members Dr Shahzad Ansar and Ikramul Haque Qureshi has passed the order.

 Earlier, CCP conducted an inquiry after receiving a complaint from the CFA Institute - the USA-based global association of investment professionals - against the Lahore-based Society of Accounting Education (SOAE) for deceptive marketing practices. The inquiry found that the SOAE was misleadingly using the CFA Institute's acronym and the registered trademark in its promotional material and the website, and also used the acronym 'CFA' in its various misleading forms such as ACFA, DCFA, and FCFA etc. Moreover, the SOAE also claimed in its promotional material that upon completion of their courses, the students would be given CFA membership.

The CCP 's order established that such claims could deceive the unsuspecting consumers ie accountancy students and to harm the business of CFA Institute , therefore the conduct of SOAE was in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, which prohibits deceptive marketing practices, in particular the dissemination of false and misleading information and the fraudulent use of another business's trade name.

In addition to the penalty, SOAE has been directed to immediately cease the usage of the CFA acronym, in all its forms, in its marketing and other materials, and to amend its Memorandum and Articles of Association to remove any references to the CFA acronym.

SOAE has been further directed to file a compliance report with the Registrar of the Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of issuance of the order.

CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in the economy and to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour, while the Office of Fair Trade within CCP prevents deceptive marketing practices. Complaints regarding anti-competitive activities can be filed with CCP atcomplaints@cc.gov.pk.