Govt aims to extend rules over financial services marketing

The Government has published plans to give more regulatory powers over financial services advertising to the Treasury.

The Government has published plans to give more regulatory powers

over financial services advertising to the Treasury.



The Government wants to ’rationalise and modernise’ three separate

regulatory regimes covering insurance, deposits and other financial

services in an attempt to keep pace with new media.



A consultation document issued this week admitted the system was ’under

some pressure’ because of advances in technology and multimedia services

such as the internet.



The proposed changes will be included in the Financial Services and

Markets Bill, which is due to become law next year after the City and

the advertising industry have had a chance to express their views.



The shake-up would give more power to the Treasury to issue exemptions

to the ban on financial marketing, a task that previously fell to the

Financial Services Authority set up last year.



The FSA’s ’targeted enforcement’ of the existing rules covering use of

the internet will also be strengthened.



According to the paper, the ban on financial marketing will be extended

to cover solicited telephone calls made after consumers request

information.



The Treasury argues that these can be just as harmful as unsolicited

calls.



The report says the internet offers low-cost channels of advertising for

financial services. The regime will make breaches of the rules ’through

any medium’ a criminal offence.



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