Financial promotions and adverts

Find out how to make sure that your promotions and adverts comply with our rules and treat customers fairly.

You must think carefully about promotions for:

  • deposits
  • investments
  • mortgages
  • insurance
  • consumer credit

Promotions for these products must:

  • be fair, clear and not misleading
  • give a balanced impression of your products or services
  • not disguise or diminish important warnings or statements

Be fair

Products and services are usually marketed to attract as many customers as possible. We often see that this leads to products being marketed in a way that's unfair, for example by:

  • using misleading headlines
  • making unfair comparisons
  • displaying important information only in the small print, or
  • not displaying the risks of a product or service prominently enough

Be clear

Think about what people both want and need to know. We see many examples where firms don't provide enough or the right type of information.

Be clear about the product or service so that the person buying it can make an informed decision. For example, if it is an investment, what will the money be invested in?

Remember that:

  • people have different levels of understanding about financial products
  • people outside of your industry usually won't understand your industry's jargon or technical terms

Be clear about any:

  • charges
  • penalties (eg if someone withdraws money early from an investment)
  • risks (eg if someone could get back less money from an investment than the amount they paid in)
  • key conditions associated with an offer (e.g. if someone has to pay a certain monthly amount into their bank account to qualify for a gift voucher)

There will usually be a specific target audience of people you are trying to reach. The people you actually reach (for example, anyone coming across your advert in a newspaper) could be a much bigger group. The promotion or advert should be appropriate for, and likely to be understood by, both of these groups.

Avoid misleading customers

Your firm will have more knowledge of the product or service than the person buying it. We believe firms should:

  • ensure that promotions are balanced and not give too much prominence to the benefits associated with a product without also highlighting the relevant risks
  • not ‘cherry pick’ data about a product or service
  • not create unrealistic expectations

Examples of how unrealistic expectations can be created are:

  • advertising savings that turn out to be smaller than those you'll actually get
  • using headlines that imply attractive rewards, when in reality such rewards are only achievable in limited circumstances

Use systems and controls

You should use systems and controls to make sure that:

  • people designing and approving promotions understand the rules
  • promotions remain clear, fair and not misleading over time
  • you monitor promotions and keep adequate records
  • you review complaints and apply lessons learned to future promotions

Get more help

You can find out more about how to avoid complaints about an advert on the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) website.

Last updated: 04 Aug 2015

First published: 05 May 2015