FSA warns of ‘firmer approach’ on Financial Promotions

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

The warning was made at the Mortgage Business Expo London where Christopher Atkinson, manager of the communications and strategy team, Financial Promotions department at the FSA, presented on the theme of ‘Financial Promotions: Getting It Right and Staying Compliant’.

He said: “Financial Promotions is a key issue for the FSA. We want to make sure the information provided to consumers is ‘clear, fair and not misleading’. We haven’t wanted to be too heavy-handed in what is a new regulated area for mortgage firms but we do think companies have now had a fair period of time to get used to the rules.”

Atkinson acknowledged the industry might be frustrated by a perceived lack of action regarding uncompliant promotions but hinted enforcement action could be imminent after its current review into non-conforming mortgage firms advertising on the internet is completed.

The FSA conducted a small sample review in early 2005 and fed back the problems it found to the firms involved. He said: “A larger sample is now being reviewed and the early signs are there hasn’t been much change despite the deficiencies being communicated back earlier in the year. We’re going to take a firmer approach with firms not reaching our standards. You will see this following the completion of the non-conforming review.”

Atkinson added: “In terms of the action we take on Financial Promotions, what we publicise is likely to be limited. If you think you’re not seeing much action in the Financial Promotions arena then this is because the dealings, up until a firm has gone through the full enforcement process, have to be kept private. You might not have seen much enforcement action to date but we do have it at our disposal.”

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