THE BCAP TV CODE
SECTION 9: FINANCE
(1) The rules in this Section largely
draw attention to statutory regulation with which all advertising
must comply. However, selecting the most appropriate financial
products or services normally requires consumers to consider many
factors and television advertising is not well suited to communicating
large amounts of detail. It is not, therefore, an appropriate
medium for advertising some particularly high risk or specialist
investments or any financial products or services that are not
regulated or otherwise permitted in the UK under FSMA.
(2) The Financial Services and Markets
Act 2000 (FSMA) unifies much of the structure of financial regulation
in the UK by replacing previous legislation and merging existing
regulators into the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
(3) The FSA is the regulator for the
financial services industry and regulates conduct of business,
including advertising, for investment products. It also regulates
the advertising of insurance, including the activities of insurance
intermediaries (eg motor, home and travel insurers).
(4) The FSA is responsible for the regulation
of most first charge mortgage lending and selling. Mortgages that
are not regulated are those secured on non-UK land, business premises
with less than 40% residential occupation, and second charge mortgages.
The FSA's Financial promotion rules set out in Mortgage Conduct
of Business Chapter 3 (MCOB 3) in the FSA Handbook apply to qualifying
credit promotions as defined under the Financial Services and
Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (FPO) and the
FSA Handbook glossary.
(5) Unsecured lending, other forms of
secured lending and some other credit activities continue to be
regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (as amended) and the
Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2004.
(6) In this Section, unless otherwise
stated, the terms "financial promotion", "authorised
person" and "qualifying credit promotion" have
the same meanings as in the FSMA and the FPO. Please note that
the definition of a financial promotion is broad and includes,
for example, advertising for deposits and insurance products.
(7) Advertisements for Spread Betting
are unacceptable under 3.1(c) (Betting and gaming).
9.1 NON-UK ADVERTISING
Advertisements for financial services which:
(a) are broadcast on Ofcom-licensed services
that are aimed exclusively at audiences in EU Member States other
than the UK and
(b) are not subject to the financial promotion
rules of the FSA
need not comply with Section 9. Instead they
must comply with the laws and regulations of the relevant Member
9.2 LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY
Financial promotions must comply with all legal
and regulatory requirements
(1) To quote the FSMA, a Financial Promotion
is "an inducement or invitation to engage in investment activity,
which is communicated in the course of business". It is,
however, important also to refer to the FSA Handbook, in particular
to the rules in Conduct of Business Chapter 3 (COB 3), MCOB 3
and Investment Conduct of Business Chapter 3 (ICOB 3).
(2) Legal advice, or general advice
from the FSA, may be required concerning compliance with FSMA
requirements. Please note that the FSA does not pre-vet promotions.
The ASA and BCAP will apply their usual standards
to prevent misleading advertising (see sections 5) and require
any significant exceptions and qualifications to be made clear
(see rule 5.2.3). In addition, Financial Promotions must be "clear,
fair and not misleading" as required by the FSA Handbook.
Where appropriate, the ASA and BCAP will seek advice from other
regulators when investigating possible breaches of the rules in
Unless advertisements subject to Section 9 are
clearly addressed to a specialist audience and shown either on
specialised financial channels or in breaks within appropriate
financial programming, they must be considered to be addressing
No specialist knowledge should normally be
required for a clear understanding of claims or references. For
example, exceptions, conditions or expressions which would be
understood by finance specialists must be avoided or explained
if they would be unfamiliar to many viewers.
9.4 DIRECT REMITTANCE
Financial promotions must not invite the direct
remittance of money
(1) It must not be possible to buy "off
the screen" without further formality. There must always
be an intermediate stage in which further information is supplied.
(2) See the BCAP Code for Text Services
for exceptions to the rule for Ofcom-regulated text services.
(a) Except on specialised financial channels,
the following categories of advertising are not acceptable:
(1) advertisements for the issue of shares or
debentures. Exceptions are made for advertisements announcing
the publication of listing particulars or a prospectus in connection
with an offer of shares or debentures to be listed on the London
Stock Exchange or prospectuses approved for the purposes of the
Prospectus Directive 2003/71/EC and permitted under FSMA.
(2) advertisements recommending the acquisition
or disposal of an investment in any specific company other than
an investment trust company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
(b) Nothing may be advertised as an investment
unless it is regulated or otherwise permitted under FSMA.
Notes to 9.5:
(1) Advertisements for Spread Betting
are unacceptable under 3.1(c) (Betting and gaming). Please also
note rule 3.2 (Indirect promotion) which prohibits advertising
if a significant effect would be to promote a product or service
that cannot be advertised in its own right.
(2) Advertisements for Contracts for
Differences (except Spread Betting) are acceptable on specialist
financial channels provided the products are available only to
clients who have demonstrated through appropriate pre-vetting
procedure that they have relevant financial trading experience.
(For this purpose, a "specialised financial channel"
is an Ofcom licensed channel whose programmes, with few exceptions,
are likely to be of particular interest only to business people
or finance professionals.)
(3) In this Code, "Spread Betting"
and "Contract for Differences" have the same meanings
as in the current glossary to the FSA Handbook.
Note to 9.5(b):
Any advertising which implies that, for example,
a collectors' item or some other unregulated product or service
could have investment potential would normally be unacceptable.
("Investment" is used in its colloquial sense in this
Subject to 9.5(a), financial promotions are
(a) they have been approved by an "authorised
person" as defined in the FSMA or
(b) they are exempt as set out in COB 3.2.5R,
MCOB 3.2.5R and ICOB 3.3.6R
Note to 9.6:
Advertising by a general insurance intermediary
need not be approved by an authorised person if it is a generic
promotion under the FPO. (This is usually where the advertising
does not identify any particular insurer, insurance intermediary
or product, so it will usually apply where the financial promotion
refers generally to product types).
9.7 SAVINGS AND
(a) References to interest on savings must
be accurate at the time of transmission and the advertising must
be modified immediately if the rate changes.
(b) Calculations of interest must not be
based on significant unstated factors.
Note to 9.7(b):
It may be necessary to refer to factors such
as a minimum deposit, minimum deposit period or minimum period
of notice for withdrawal.
(c) Advertisements must make clear whether
interest is gross or net of tax.
(d) Where the interest rate is variable,
this must be stated.
(e) Where the investment returns of savings
products are compared (eg a unit trust is compared with a bank
deposit) any significant differences between the products must
(f) Advertisements subject to Section 9
must comply with Code of Conduct on the Advertising of Interest
Bearing Accounts which is published jointly by the Building Societies
Association and the British Bankers' Association.
9.8 LENDING AND
The advertising of most credit or hire services
is acceptable only where the advertiser complies with the Consumer
Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2004 and the Consumer Credit
Act 1974 (as amended). The advertising of mortgages regulated
by the FSA and secured loans of FSA regulated lenders is only
acceptable where the advertiser complies with the FSMA and the
(1) Credit advertisements that are not
qualifying credit promotions must comply with Section 46 of the
Consumer Credit Act and Regulations made under it. Where there
is doubt about their applicability or interpretation, advice should
be sought from the appropriate Trading Standards Department. Such
advertisements that involve distance marketing must also comply
with the Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004. Other
financial advertisements that are distance marketed will be covered
by the FSA Handbook.
(2) Please note the Guidance for Debt
Management Companies and other guidance issued by the Director
General of Fair Trading.
Advertisements for publications (whether electronic
or on paper) must make no recommendations about specific investments.