On 3 February 2023, the FCA published financial promotions data for 2022.
Key messages from the FCA are:
- 2022 has seen the FCA significantly increase its intervention activity in response to poor financial promotions compliance in authorised firms and activity involving unauthorised firms and individuals.
- In relation to authorised firms, following FCA intervention, last year the regulator had 8,582 promotions amended/withdrawn which is an increase of 1398%, compared to 573 in 2021.
- In relation to unauthorised firms and individuals, the FCA issued 1,882 alerts in 2022, an increase of 34% from 1,410 in 2021. This is despite the FCA seeing an overall decrease of 24% of total reports received in 2022 compared with 2021.
- The FCA remains concerned regarding the levels of compliance.
- Social media remains a major focus for the regulator’s work in combatting misleading promotions.
- ‘Fin-fluencers’ have also been a growing concern for the regulator. Unauthorised individuals should not advise people on the merits of certain investments.
- While households continue to be affected by the rising cost of living, the FCA is concerned that people struggling with their finances may be more susceptible to scammers or adverts showing high risk, unregulated products.
Sarah Pritchard, Executive Director, Markets said:
‘Our expectations remain the same. Financial promotions must be fair, clear and not misleading. What has changed is the FCA’s approach. By drawing on better technology, we’re finding poor quality or misleading ads quicker. And where we find them, we’re stepping in to make firms improve them or remove them entirely.
‘This year, we will continue to put the pressure on people using social media to illegally promote investments, which put people’s hard-earned money at risk.’