The Central Bank of Ireland has primary and statutory responsibility for the regulation of advertising for Financial Services and Products, and their requirements are set out in the Consumer Protection Code 2012.
All marketing communications are, however, also subject to the rules of the ASAI Code and the ASAI will, where appropriate, examine complaints submitted that refer, in general or in particular, to the provisions of the ASAI Code.
If, however, the ASAI considers that because of the particular provisions of the Central Bank Code or the substance of the complaint that the matter should more properly be dealt with by the Central Bank, complainants will be advised accordingly.
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. Finance marketing communications should make clear the advertiser’s identity and geographic address and that information should be given in a form that can be retained by customers or continually accessed by them.
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, or should be readily accessible, 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 in a prominent manner 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.