FCA cracks down on ‘fin-fluencers’ posting illegal investing advice
The Financial Conduct Authority has warned of “fin-fluencers” providing unauthorised investment advice, after the number of misleading ads it blocked increased 14-fold in 2022.
The regulator banned 8,582 promotions in 2022, up from 573 a year earlier. Many of these, the FCA noted, concerned social media finance influencers, who have been “a growing concern for the regulator”.
The FCA said that “significant improvements” to its digital tools made it easier to detect and crack down on those offering illegal investment advice online.
“Our expectations remain the same,” FCA executive director Sarah Pritchard said. “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.
Pritchard added that the FCA will continue to focus on influencers going forward.
“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,” she said.
The FCA said that issuing unauthorised financial promotions can be a criminal offence, and that, “in the most serious cases”, it has referred fin–fluencers for criminal investigation.
Among the subjects of the FCA influencer crackdown was trading platform Freetrade, which was ordered to stop its marketing campaigns in February of last year.
The FCA said it had “serious concerns that the firm’s financial promotions, which involved social media influencers, were targeting vulnerable consumers with significant debt”.
Freetrade declined to comment on last year’s ban.