Marketing communications for financial services and products should be prepared with care and with the conscious aim of ensuring that members of the public fully grasp the nature of any commitment into which they may enter as a result of responding to a marketing communication. Advertisers should not take advantage of people’s inexperience or gullibility.
Marketing communications which invite a response by mail should contain the full address of the advertiser separate from any response coupon.
Marketing communications should indicate the nature of the contract being offered and provide information on any limitations on eligibility, any charges, expenses or penalties attached and the terms on which withdrawal may be arranged. Alternatively, where a marketing communication is short or is general in its content, free explanatory material giving full details of the offer should be made available before a binding contract is entered into.
When a marketing communication contains any forecast or projection, it should make clear the basis on which the forecast or projection is made, explaining, for example:
- whether reinvestment of income is assumed;
- whether account has been taken of any applicable taxes;
- whether any penalties or deductions will arise on premature realisation or otherwise.
Marketing communications should make it clear that the value of investments is variable and, unless guaranteed, can go down as well as up. If the value of the investment is guaranteed, details should be included in the marketing communication.
Marketing communications should specify that past performance or experience does not necessarily give a guide for the future. Any examples used should not be unrepresentative.
Statutory and Other Regulatory Requirements
Marketing communications for financial products and services, including investment opportunities, deposits and credit facilities, are subject to a number of statutory requirements, including those of the Financial Regulator and the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs, some of which are listed in Appendix II.