FCA will go for 'high-profile scalps' over adverts

Contact State has provided a guide to the new rules, which can be summarised:

  • All Google financial advertisers will require an FCA number (FRN) from Aug 30;
  • Lead advertisers will need to be directly authorised by the FCA or become an appointed rep of another directly authorised business (i.e. the lead buyer);
  • The changes are for all Google advertising formats (Youtube, email, display etc) not just the search engine.

As reported by FTAdviser as early as April 2020, the protection industry had raised concerns about the proliferation of rogue lead generators appearing on Facebook and other social media accounts.

At the time, insurance advertising firm Rocketer warned that lead generators were targeting people in lockdown, selling on fear.

Desmier said: "The FCA's new chief executive [Nikhil Rathi] has made this a priority and there is a lot going on that looks quite co-ordinated.

"The FCA, for the past 10 years or so, has said all financial promotions should be regulated or at least approved by a regulated financial entity, but nobody has been paying attention. Quite literally, lead generators and the like have ignored it.

"This seems like the first time that this is being enforced."

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