Financial advertising is subject to numerous laws and regulations, some of which fall outside of our remit. Ads for products by FCA-regulated (Financial Conduct Authority) businesses such as banks, building societies and stockbrokers, and any claims to do with the specific characteristics of a financial product are looked at by the FCA. We regulate non-technical aspects of ads for financial products and services such as matters relating to offence and social responsibility.
This said it is worth noting certain ads may fall under our remit if they’re delivered as part of a cross-media campaign. We are responsible for all broadcast ads for financial products and services and will liaise with the FCA on any technical aspects of these kinds of ads. We also cover ads about tangible investments, property, government investment services and investment-related software.
Although the issue of remit can seem quite complicated, the advertising rules for financial products and services themselves are quite simple. They are all about making ads for financial products and services as clear and as transparent as possible and not taking advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity.
For example, ads for financial products and services should always state the nature of the contract being offered and any limitations, expense, penalty or terms of withdrawal. The only time it is acceptable for this information to be omitted from an ad is if the ad is very short, in which case free material explaining the terms and conditions must be made readily available to consumers before a binding contract is entered into.
Other rules for ads for financial products and services include making sure offers are communicated in a way that allows them to be easily understood by the target audience. The rules also require that the basis used to calculate any rates, forecasts or projections are made clear in the ad. Ads should also make clear the value of investments is variable and, unless guaranteed, can go down as well as up. If the value of the investment is guaranteed, the ad must explain this guarantee.