I think many Mail on Sunday reading advisers will have been choking on their Sunday breakfast when they opened this weekend’s edition.
Why? Well, wrapped neatly around the sports pages was a full colour, four-page spread extolling the virtues of the Financial Service Compensation Scheme. The features on “Savings” contained within made reference to various savings strategies and of course the protection the FSCS offers.
Now don’t get me wrong, the FSCS is a vitally important organisation and should be there to protect investors who may be the victims of scams, misselling and financial collapse.
But it is not an educator, that seems to be the MAS’ role these days, and it should not be an advertiser recklessly spending money in this way.
This type of advertising campaign comes at a huge cost. So much of a ‘business win’ was it that it has featured in a big way within advertising trade magazine Media Week where it was announced “The FSCS has partnered with Associated Newspapers and Absolute Radio as part of a 15-month campaign to build awareness of the financial protection it offers”.
It went on to say: “Absolute Radio activity includes a six-part series, ‘Design For Life’, which will present a light-hearted look at important life events, such as holidays, the home, university and marriage……and feature Christian O’Connell, the host of Absolute Radio’s breakfast show and Ian Stone, presenter of Rock ‘N’ Roll Football, with well known comedians.
The report concluded: “This partnerships campaign aims to make more people aware of the protection we provide, by tapping into key areas of interest and highlighting where we can help build financial confidence amongst the British public.”
This is a further example, if one were needed, that regulation is a profligate growth industry, now spending your money on vanity projects of awareness creation.
So bad is this example that “Part of the brief stated that the FSCS was looking for an agency that could engage audiences with a ‘low-interest subject matter’”.
The FSCS should not trivialise what it does by spending your hard earned fees on engaging expensive media agencies, comedians and other celebrities to promote “low interest subject matter”.
Building “financial confidence amongst the British public” is something we as an industry should aspire to deliver.
The FSCS should stick to spending its money, in fact your money, on doing what it says on the can.
Derek Bradley is chief executive of Panacea Adviser