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FCA warns firms to clarify promotion of unregulated activity

  • 09/01/2019
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FCA warns firms to clarify promotion of unregulated activity
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned the CEOs of all its regulated firms that it is aware of a number of financial promotions giving the impression that all activities are regulated by either the FCA or the Prudential Regulation Authority, when they are not.


The watchdog said in a letter signed by its chief executive, Andrew Bailey, that these financial promotions are unlikely to leave consumers able to understand whether the products or services which are promoted are regulated by the FCA or the PRA.

Many firms regulated by the FCA undertake both regulated and unregulated business, and the regulator is warning firms to be clear when they are promoting and conducting regulated or unregulated activities.

This letter clarified that any form of communication, including through websites and social media, is capable of being a financial promotion.

According to section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, it is unlawful for a person in the course of business to communicate a financial promotion, unless that person is authorised, the content of the communication is approved by an authorised person or a relevant exemption applies.


Monitoring adverts

Bailey also explained that the FCA monitors adverts across different media in the UK, although it does not approve advertising and it is up to firms to ensure that financial promotions are compliant.

The regulator also reiterated that if a firm names the FCA or the PRA as its regulator in a financial promotion that refers to aspects of its business which are not regulated, then the promotion should make clear those aspects which are not regulated.

Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision, retail and authorisations at the FCA, said that it is unacceptable for firms, which are regulated for some of their business, to market unregulated activities by implying to customers that all their business is regulated.

He added: “We are committed to stamping out this misleading practice and recommend that customers should ask firms whether what they are buying is really regulated by the FCA.”


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