FCA publishes financial promotions data

FCA has published data covering the period of 1 July to 30 September 2022 assessing its action against authorised firms for breaching financial promotion rules and referrals, as well as its investigations into unregulated activity. The data reports that FCA reviewed 340 promotions in the third quarter of 2022, which resulted in 4,151 amends or withdrawals. 95% of these interventions involved retail lending, retail investments and retail banking. Most commonly, breaches involved credit brokers, e-money providers and CFD providers.

FCA issued 303 warning alerts about unauthorised firms and individuals, with 20% of these relating to clone scams. Many of these involved breaches of the financial promotion restriction online, and most of the alerts required websites to be taken down.

FCA has also issued letters warning firms which offer BNPL products that financial promotions of these products must comply with financial promotion rules – even though some agreements are unregulated. 65% of the quarter’s amend or withdraw outcomes involved website or social media promotions.

In the data report’s press release, FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, Mark Steward, said that FCA is doing even more to tackle false claims in adverts and to engage with social media platforms, because the current financial climate could result in more customers becoming targets for scammers and high-risk products. He said that “changes to the Online Safety Bill to cover paid-for financial services advertising online are very much needed right now”.

The new Consumer Duty will add further weight to the need to ensure firms are treating customers fairly and taking measures to ensure their customers avoid harm where possible.

Emma Radmore