FG15/4 - Social media and customer communications: The FCA’s supervisory approach to financial promotions in social media

Published: 13/03/2015     Last Modified: 13/03/2015

FG15/4: Social media and customer communications: The FCA’s supervisory approach to financial promotions in social media [PDF]

What we consulted on

In August 2014, we consulted on our approach to the supervision of financial promotions in social media (GC14/6).

The finalised guidance on social media intends to help firms understand how they can use these media and comply with our rules. We also remind firms that our rules are intended to be media-neutral, to ensure that consumers are presented with fair and balanced information at each stage of the customer journey.

In response to some queries within the feedback from firms and industry bodies we have sought to clarify areas of the guidance and amended some of the text, as well as adding more visual examples.

What we clarified

The areas we sought to clarify were:

  • 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 we have not taken this approach and the European Directive constraints we are subject to.
  • Dynamic functionality – an explanation of how certain media are viewed as a whole for stand-alone compliance.
  • ‘In the course of business’ - further explanation of the difference between personal and business-related posts/tweets.
  • #Ad – an explanation of our stance on using hashtags to distinguish tweets as promotions and their use in general within financial promotional content.
  • Approval and record-keeping – a reminder of our existing requirements, which apply equally to social media, and risk management within the framework of SYSC (Senior Management Arrangements, Systems and Controls).

Response to feedback received

We have considered the responses and are now publishing finalised guidance, along with a summary of the feedback received. The responses were broadly supportive of our approach and our clarification of how financial promotions and communications generally can be made compliantly in social media.

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