Calls for FSA guidelines on online sales

Nia Williams

September 17, 2010

While almost a quarter of all UK-based marketing spend is now online, there are still no specific guidelines for how financial marketers should engage in online marketing. Bigmouthmedia’s white paper demonstrates growing cause for concern amongst marketers that while the internet has created a unique set of conditions, the FSA has yet to provide specific guidelines for marketers using the channel.

“It is time for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to address one of the most neglected issues of its time and produce a set of guidelines designed to help financial services market their services both ethically and effectively,” said Chris Cathcart, senior finance strategist at bigmouthmedia.

“At a point when restoring the industry’s position in the public esteem remains of critical importance, getting the message right online will be a significant step forward.

“The internet was in its infancy when the organisation founded to regulate the finance sector first opened its doors, but in little more than a decade it has revolutionised the way that consumers interact with the commercial world. We believe that a specific set of rules developed to specifically address the unique conditions surrounding online trade could bring an end to a lot of existing confusion.”

Digital advertising formats make compliance with the standards set out for traditional media extremely difficult, and in a culture where companies selling financial products must be extremely vigilant against falling foul of legislation, marketers find their ability to engage with the burgeoning marketplace restricted. The problem, however, does not stop there.

As a recent bigmouthmedia survey revealed, consumers are less than content with the way financial services are sold to them online. They demonstrate widespread mistrust of the claims made of a raft of available products and a clear preference for terms and conditions written in plain English they can understand.

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