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Financial promotions – getting it right

While many companies in the real world advertise their products and services using similarly confusing claims, it’s up to the consumer to decode the facts and figures to make an informed decision –here’s a free tip: anyone promising to make your hair feel up to 90% more ‘volumised’ should be met with a degree of scepticism. 

In the consumer credit sector, you can’t play fast and loose with how you communicate your services. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently released its findings relating to financial promotions, and during the period from October 2015 to March 2016, over 40% of cases which resulted in amends or withdrawal related to the consumer credit sector. This figure we can believe.

If you’ve not reviewed your promotional collateral for a while, I would encourage you to do so as soon as possible. At all times a firm must ensure that its financial promotions are clear, fair and not misleading. Consider the following guidance notes: 

•    a firm must not in a financial promotion or a communication to a customer suggest or state, expressly or by implication, that credit is available regardless of the customer’s financial circumstances or status
•    a firm must ensure that its promotions are accurate and, in particular, should not emphasise any potential benefits of a product or service without also giving a fair and prominent indication of any relevant risks
•    a firm must also ensure its promotions are presented in a way that is likely to be understood by, the average member of the group to whom it is directed, or by whom it is likely to be received.

If you’re in any doubt as to whether your promotions are complying with FCA standards, I would urge you not to take chances. Unclear or misleading promotions are likely to catch the attention of the regulator and should a complaint arise as a result, the FCA is likely to take additional enforcement action or order a review of other customer cases. 

Employing the services of a professional compliance consultancy to review your marketing collateral, website and other promotions provides added peace of mind that you are satisfying your regulatory responsibilities. At the Consumer 
Credit Centre, many of our new joiners request that our team review all of their financial promotions to identify areas in which they may not be wholly compliant. As part of the SimplyBiz Group, we have over 15 years of experience of helping firms communicate their products and services in line with the guidance of the regulator so no one is better placed to support you.

If you want help with ensuring your promotions are compliant or with any other aspect of FCA regulation, please call a member of our team on 01484 443 424.

Attributed to David Golder, Managing Director, Consumer Credit Centre, SimplyBiz Group 

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