In August 2014, the FCA consulted on its approach to the supervision of financial promotions in social media. The FCA has now published its finalised guidance in Finalised Guidance 15/4 – Social media and customer communications: The FCA’s supervisory approach to financial promotions in social media (FG15/4).

In FG15/4 the FCA discusses how firms can use social media and comply with its rules. In particular, the areas that the FCA sought to clarify in FG15/4 are:

  • re-tweets, forwarding and sharing – what is perceived as a financial promotion and can this be done compliantly?
  • inserting images – clarification that the inducement and balancing statement/risk warning needs to be within an inserted image;
  • ‘click-through’ approach – a more detailed explanation of why the FCA has not taken this approach and the EU Directive constraints it is subject to;
  • dynamic functionality – an explanation of how certain media are viewed as a whole for stand-alone compliance;
  • ‘in the course of business’ – a further explanation of the difference between personal and business-related posts/tweets;
  • #Ad – an explanation of the FCA’s stance on using hashtags to distinguish tweets as promotions and their use in general within financial promotional content; and
  • approval and record-keeping – a reminder of the FCA’s existing requirements, which apply equally to social media, and risk management within the framework of the Senior Management Arrangements, Systems and Controls sourcebook.

Tracey McDermott, FCA Director of Supervision and Authorisations commented:

“Social media is already an important tool for industry to engage with customers and its use is only likely to grow. Financial promotions, whether on social media or traditional media, must give customers the right information and meet our requirements to be fair, clear and not misleading. We have had extensive industry feedback during our consultation. We believe this guidance reflects a sensible approach that allows the industry to innovate using new forms of media and at the same time ensures customers get the right level of protection.”

View FCA confirms approach for financial promotions in social media, 13 March 2015