FCA blocks 8,500 misleading ads in 2022

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) required firms to amend or remove 8,582 promotions last year.

Figures from the regulator revealed this was 14 times more than in 2021.

The FCA stated that social media remains a “major focus” for its work in combatting misleading promotions. The regulator has worked closely with several tech companies to change their advertising policies to only allow financial promotions that have been approved by FCA-authorised firms, although warned that “more needs to be done” by tech companies to protect consumers.

A report from the regulator out today also showed that the FCA published over 1,800 alerts to help prevent consumers from losing their money to scams in 2022. This follows work by the regulator to make significant improvements to the digital tools it uses to find problem firms and misleading adverts. These improvements have enabled it to work through a much larger number of cases compared with 2021.

Executive director, markets at the FCA, Sarah Pritchard, commented: “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.”

The FCA is currently consulting on introducing tougher checks for firms which want to approve financial promotions. These measures will make sure the regulator can quickly stop harmful promotions by unauthorised firms and individuals.

The regulator is also to soon introduce its Consumer Duty in July. Under the Duty, firms will be required to demonstrate they are providing consumers with information which help them to make informed decisions about financial products and services.

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