FxPro, an online broker providing contracts for difference, has been told it must not broadcast a television advert again in its current form.
The Advertising Standards Authority reviewed the advert, which was shown on the Bloomberg television channel on 29 September and featured a scene where a young adult appeared to trade in complex, high risk financial products throughout the day.
The ASA noted that the advert appeared on a specialist financial TV channel and that it related to a complex investment product but it said the advert showed a young adult so could be seen to be targeted at a student audience who were likely to be inexperienced in trading CFDs.
It also considered statements in the voice-over such as “What can I say, I am a risk seeker” created a strong impression that any risks that might be associated with investing were heavily outweighed by the potential benefits, including thrillseeking.
The ASA stated that impression was not off-set by the small risk warning included in on-screen text.
During the advert, the young adult woke up and immediately reached for a tablet device.
The image on the tablet showed a falling Euro:Sterling currency rate and the voice-over stated: “What can I say, I am a risk seeker. For me, trading is about being in the moment.”
The advert then showed the actor arriving at what appeared to be a college setting where he checked the currency status and the image on the device indicated that the exchange rate had risen.
The voice-over stated: “Surfing that wave for as long as it holds. And when the price changes direction, I go back in and profit on the way down. Some say it’s too risky. For me, it’s a thrill. Fortune favours the brave, right?”
The advert then featured the actor who showed the currency rate to several other students.
On-screen text throughout the advert stated: “FxPro Trade Forex Like a Pro … Risk Warning: Trading CFDs involves significant risk of loss.”
A complainant challenged whether the advert was irresponsible because they believed it encouraged young adults to trade complex, high risk financial products throughout the day.
Bloomberg Media, the broadcaster, responded on behalf of themselves and FxPro UK Ltd to argue the advert was for CFD investments and was shown on an established, specialist financial channel and was therefore targeted at a specialist audience.
They said their channel included adverts for products available only to consumers who had demonstrated, through an appropriate pre-vetting procedure, that they had relevant financial trading experience and that any consumer who had not passed the pre-vetting process would not be accepted as a potential client.
Bloomberg Media flagged a risk warning appeared throughout the ad that stated, “Trading CFDs involves significant risk of loss”.
Furthermore, an additional risk warning was displayed at the end of the advert which stated “CFDs are complex financial products that are traded on margin. Trading CFDs carries a high level of risk since leverage can work both to your advantage and disadvantage.