FCA warns firms and finfluencers to keep their social media ads lawful

Guidance for memes, reels and gaming streams promoting financial services has been published by the FCA today.

The FCA has set out how adverts across social media channels must be fair, clear and not misleading, meaning they must have balance and carry the right risk warnings so people can make well informed financial decisions.

Social media has become a central part of firms’ marketing strategies. Firms are on the hook for all their promotions and the FCA has warned they need to ensure influencers they work with communicate to their followers in the right way.

And influencers are reminded that promoting a financial product without approval from an FCA-authorised person with the right permission could be a criminal offence. Consumers need to be alert to dubious adverts and scams online, but it is important that influencers ensure they’re on the right side of the rules and consider what would happen to their own reputations if they’re found to promote products illegally.

Lucy Castledine, Director of Consumer Investments at the FCA, said:

'Any marketing for financial products must be fair, clear and not misleading so consumers can invest, save or borrow with confidence.

'Promotions aren’t just about the likes, they’re about the law. We will take action against those touting financial products illegally.'

Social media will not always be the best place to promote complex products. Firms need to consider whether a platform that offers limited characters or space is the right place to do so. Scrutiny of financial promotions has been ramped up and last year we removed over 10,000 misleading adverts, up from around 8,500 in 2022.

Notes to editors

  1. Finalised Guidance and Feedback Statement.
  2. In 2023, we consulted on updated guidance for financial promotions on social media.
  3. Following FCA engagement, several Big Tech companies made changes to their advertising policies to only allow financial promotions that have been approved by FCA-authorised firms. 
  4. The FCA continues to work with the Advertising Standards Authority to help educate consumers and influencers about the risks involved in promoting financial products. This work has included an infographic and events to build up awareness of the harm that can take place and help influencers make an informed choice when they are approached to promote a financial product or service.
  5. The guidance follows the introduction of stronger rules on advertising high-risk investments, including crypto, and our ongoing InvestSmart campaign to encourage people to make better informed investment decisions. 
  6. Find out more information about the FCA.