Advertising products and services in an increasingly crowded and competitive market is a challenge for many members. Firms are having to take a multi-channel approach to reach customers at the right time, in the right place with the right message.

However, the dangers of uncontrolled use of communication channels such as social media have become apparent in recent years resulting in huge lawsuits, and financial and reputational damage for inappropriate use. 

With an increasing amount of activity it is important that firms comply with both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules for the different channels in which they advertise (which could involve up to five different sets of conduct of business rules), and comply with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) advice for ?clear, fair and not misleading? content.

For the unconvinced, the FCA issued two Dear CEO letters on financial promotions in 2019, reminding readers of its powers and is itself facing an enquiry over how it regulates this area.

Firms must understand and be able to use to their advantage:

  • the FCA rules and the ASA codes.
  • the FCA digital media guidance; and
  • the ordinary law and dictates of good taste

They also need to understand fully:

  • their products and services without which clear, fair and not misleading communication is impossible.
  • the communication methods they use;
  • the way in which outsiders like regulators and the public view what they are saying; and
  • where to find and how to apply the rules that apply to them.

By the end of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Know how to communicate in your area in a clear, fair, and not misleading way and in a way that broadly complies with both the FCA and ASA rulebooks
  • Understand the FCA's powers when dealing with promotions
  • Appreciate the meaning and significance of the idea of a ?promotion?
  • Know the FCA's concerns about digital media use
  • Be able to design the basics of an effective risk management system for your promotional activity

The Learning Experience:

The learning experience will be highly interactive with plenty of fruitful interaction both on the subject area and amongst participants.

We will use a mixture of real-live examples of promotions, including websites, social media usage and the regulator's FG 15/4 digital media guidance case studies. There will be breakout group learning sessions, particularly to deal with areas specific to a particular financial services area. There will also be more formal but interactive learning to ensure the coverage of key points.

Who should attend:

  • Marketing
  • Product Development
  • Compliance  
  • Oversight roles
  • Any other senior management responsible for the marketing activities of the company.

Workshop agenda:

Training objectives and programme

1. The real world

  • Ordinary law, good taste, company procedures
  • ASA Codes of Advertising Practice
  • Effect of retweeting and liking
  • Distinction - personal and business social media use

2. Financial promotions and client communications regulation

  • Defining promotions
  • Legislative and regulatory framework
  • ?In the course of business? and ?on behalf of the firm?
  • FCA's powers

3. The FCA Rulebook

  • Finding the rulebook and time-travel
  • FCA Principles
  • Scope of application of MCOB, BCOBS, ICOBS
  • Non-promotional communications and image advertising
  • Clear, fair & not misleading - its meaning
  • Describing the security and risk
  • Prominence
  • Restricted expressions
  • Advertorials - clear identification
  • Names - firm, regulator, FSCS - explaining what is not regulated
  • Comparisons and pricing claims
  • APR and representative examples - when you need them
  • BBA/BSA Code on deposit accounts
  • Direct offers for savings accounts

4. Particular digital media areas

  • FG 15/4 Social media and customer communications
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Website issues

5. Basic systems and controls including records

  • Introduction to risk management
  • Three lines of defence
  • Compliance and risk management functions
  • Competent employee rule
  • Record keeping

Other workshops:

In 2021 this workshop will repeat in: March and October

Adam Samuel

Adam Samuel

Lawyer, Arbitrator and Financial Services Compliance Expert

Adam Samuel has been trying to keep the financial services industry out-of-trouble since 1996. In the early 2000s, he extricated a firm from the grips...

Adam Samuel has been trying to keep the financial services industry out-of-trouble since 1996. In the early 2000s, he extricated a firm from the grips of the FSA after it had accused its client of breaking the financial promotions rules and arranging investments through its website. In February 2012, Adam did one of the first digital media compliance lectures in the UK. Adam fixes companies? problems, trains, writes and teaches students about financial promotions. He authored the only book on UK financial services complaints (2nd ed out in 2017). He holds the exam qualifications not only for a compliance person (CISI Compliance Diploma) and a lawyer but also has AFPC, MAQ and Cert ER qualifications so that he can comment on the work of financial and mortgage advisers from a position of reasonable strengths. To find out more about Adam,  see

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