Rules and constraints on using FCA logo or FCA authorisation in a promotional way

The FCA changed its logo during Summer 2017 as part of its ‘brand refresh’ and advised regulated firms that they are not permitted to use the FCA logo on any of their documentation or promotional material.

More recently, the FCA have expressed concern that some firms are using their FCA-authorised status in a promotional way, which is not only contrary to FCA rules, but could also lead to consumer harm. 

Having conducted a review looking at how firms present their FCA authorisation status on their websites, the FCA has found it necessary to remind firms of their obligations when communicating with clients, including details about the extent of their FCA authorisation/regulation and in relation to the use of the FCA logo.

For example:

  • Unclear, unfair and misleading statements by a firm may involve a breach of FCA’s Principles for Businesses, Principle 7. This states:
    “A firm must pay due regard to the information needs of its clients, and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.”;
  • GEN 1.2.2AR (referring to approval by the FCA), the purpose of which is to prevent clients being misled about the extent to which the FCA has approved a firm’s affairs; and
  • GEN 4.5 (statements about authorisation and regulation by the appropriate regulator). In particular, GEN 4 Annex 1R sets out the required disclosure statements for FCA authorised persons, with relevant notes. Note 5 (GEN 4 Annex 1R) relates to the presentation of those statements, which includes, for example, the use of images, symbols (such as shields, ticks, padlocks) and wording in addition to the relevant required disclosure statement. Firms are reminded to present and communicate information in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading. 

Important Note: ATEB news is intended to provide general information ONLY. The content, including any views expressed or guidance provided, does not replace the need to comply fully with FCA Rules and Guidance. Unless you have discussed news article content with ATEB, and specifically how it relates to your circumstances, then ATEB disclaims all liability and responsibility and actions arising from any reliance placed upon it. For the avoidance of doubt therefore, any reliance you place on such information without our consultation is at your own risk.

ATEB Compliance offers compliance and regulatory advice.

ATEB Suitability provides report writing software for the financial services market.

Our View

Firms have a duty to ensure that they do not indicate or imply that they are regulated or otherwise supervised by the FCA in respect of business for which they are not regulated by the FCA. As well as potentially breaching the requirements of GEN, misleading statements by a firm may involve a breach of Principle 7 (Communications with clients).

Unless required to do so under the regulatory system, a firm must ensure that neither it, nor anyone acting on its behalf, claims, in a public statement or to a client, expressly or by implication, that its affairs, or any aspect of them, have the approval or endorsement of the FCA or another competent authority. 

Firms must not use their authorisation status in the way described above.

Action Required By You

Review both your firm’s website and documentation to ensure it meets the requirements above.

For further information or assistance, contact your ATEB Consultant or contact us here.

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About the Author

Technical Manager - Often referred to as the Oracle or the Sage, Alistair has a wealth of financial services experience. He is our go-to Technical Manager and enjoys nothing more than a complicated conundrum. Feel free to test his renowned knowledge by getting in touch.

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