Advertisements For Investments

The British Code of Advertising Practice rules applying to investment advertisements are fairly general. Much more detailed and stringent rules were introduced under the Financial Services Act. The most important of these are outlined below.

WARNING The Financial Services Act (and hence its rules governing advertising) doesn't apply to deposit-type investments, such as bank and building society accounts, National Savings Bank accounts, and deposit-type pension plans.

Who, what and where An advertisement must include the name of the advertiser and, in most cases, the name of the regulating body which oversees the company's activities ). The nature of the investment concerned must be clear. If full details of the investment aren't given, the advertisement must say from where you can get full written details. If the act of applying for details could trigger a visit or phone call from a salesman, the advertisement must make that clear too.

Closing date 'Offer closes by 30 June' used to be a familiar sort of phrase which might well be perfectly genuine: for example, issues of new shares have a set closing date, or an imminent change in the law might affect a particular product. But, in many cases, the provision of a closing date was simply marketing hype.

The new rules say that only if an investment is actually available for a limited time, in limited quantities, or on special terms for a limited period, is the inclusion of a closing date permissible.

Tax-free 'Up to £41,791 tax-free cash!' exclaimed the leaflet for a life insurance savings plan. The words 'tax-free' once featured largely in such advertisements. There's nothing in the new rules to say that they shouldn't still, but certain provisos are included so that claims will be less misleading than some may have been in the past.

Click here for more information on Investments And Non-taxpayers

Printed Advertisements

Advertising in the UK is controlled by a patchwork of complementary and, sometimes, overlapping rules; some are voluntary codes, others are statutory regulations. Central to this patchwork is the British Code of Advertising Practice which comes under the aegis of the Advertising Standards Authority. The Code covers all printed advertisements whether, for example, in newspapers, magazines, on hoardings, posted through your door, or in leaflets in shops.

It lays down general rules which advertisements must follow in order to meet the central tenet that they be legal, decent, honest and truthful.Printed Advertisements

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