Apfa action forces CMC to change ‘misleading’ advert

Claims management firm Emcas has been forced to amend a newspaper advert to clarify that its statement “one in four investors have been mis-sold” related to a mystery shopper exercise that only covered six retail banks.

Neil Liversidge, Apfa council member, complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about an Emcas advert in his local paper Wakefield Express, which he claimed was “misleading” and could lead consumers to believe any failings related to IFAs.

The Emcas advert said “one in four investors may have been mis-sold”, caveating it that this was based on a Financial Services Authority mystery shopping exercise on “six firms”.

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The FSA mystery shopping exercise in question was published in February 2013 found that advisers in six retail banks and building societies gave the customers unsuitable advice and that advisers did not gather enough information to make sure their advice was suitable.

Following a complaint from Mr Liversidge, the ASA said he had a “valid point” and has contacted Emcas to ask them to amend the ad’s caveat to state: “FSA mystery shopper research on 6 firms in the retail banking sector, Feb 2013”.

The email from ASA to Mr Liversidge said: “The advertiser has amended their ad in this way and we are satisfied that the amended ad is now unlikely to breach the code.”

Mr Liversidge said: “It’s a small victory. Hopefully through Apfa’s prompt action a lot of inconvenience will be avoided for adviser firms who won’t now be tarred with the same brush as the banks.

“It also shows how Apfa is alive to the day-to-day problems such as this that advisers face, and how we react quickly to such challenges.”