Financial watchdog stops thousands of misleading ads and promotions

Over 10,000 financial adverts and other promotions were withdrawn or changed in 2023 following intervention from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), an increase of 17%, year-on-year.

The FCA also published 2,285 alerts to help prevent consumers from losing their money to scams, up from 1,800 in 2022.

After being given new powers by the Government, the regulator has focused on illegal cryptoasset promotions to UK consumers, issuing 450 consumer alerts between 8 October 2023 and 31 December 2023.

The regulator has highlighted its concern at the rise of influencers promoting financial products, including credit and investments on social media which often targets younger age groups.

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

'People need clear, fair and accurate information to base their financial decisions on. We will continue to intervene and take action when we identify firms not meeting our minimum standards.'

As of 7 February 2024, authorised firms need permission from the FCA if they want to approve promotions for unregulated persons. This makes sure firms approving financial promotions have the required competence and expertise for the promotions being offered.  

This is underpinned by the Consumer Duty which came into force in July 2023. The Consumer Duty requires firms to demonstrate that they are providing consumers with information which helps them to make effective and informed decisions about financial products and services.

Notes to editors

  • 10,008 financial promotions withdrawn or amended during 2023 – an increase of 16.6% compared to 2022.
  • Financial promotions data 2023
  • Financial promotions quarterly data 2023 Q4
  • ‘Finfluencers’ are financial influencers who use social media and other online platforms to share or promote financial advice, tips, and related content with their audiences.
  • Crypto Financial Promotions Policy Statement, June 2023.
  • During 2023, the FCA introduced new rules for firms promoting high-risk investments, and the Consumer Duty which set higher standards of consumer protection across financial services came into force in July 2023.
  • The regulator continues to use its ScamSmart campaign to provide people with information on how to avoid investment and pension scams.
  • In 2023, the FCA identified unauthorised activity relating to debt solutions and engaged with 43 unauthorised firms and issued 30 alerts, including requesting website and/or social media account suspension where appropriate. The FCA has also engaged other regulators where applicable.