FSA crackdown on misleading ads

The FSA is calling on consumers to help it police a crackdown on misleading financial advertising.

Consumers are being asked to send examples of bad promotional materials to the regulator, which has published a guide to the advertising rules on its website.

Firms are responsible for ensuring their promotions meet the &#39clear, fair and not misleading&#39 standard, although adverts do not have to pass FSA approval before publication.

Where adverts fail to make the grade the FSA may tell the firm to amend or withdraw the material. The regulator says this is the “quickest, most effective way of protecting consumers”.

Firms may be told to contact customers where there is a chance they have been seriously misled and forced to offer those customers the chance to pull out at no cost.

Serious or persistent breaches may lead to a &#39name and shame&#39 policy.

The FSA also plans to publish statistics twice a year about the numbers and types of reports received about misleading adverts and the types of action taken.

In a message to the public, Anna Bradley, FSA consumer director, says: “If you spot something you think is misleading, we&#39d like to hear from you. Don&#39t assume that we&#39ve already seen it – it&#39s impossible for us to monitor all the adverts and marketing material produced.”

The FSA says it will pay particularly close attention to ads for investment products in the run-up to the ISA season. Its online guide includes a reporting form for misleading adverts.