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Derek Bradley: FSCS media ads are a waste of your money


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


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There are 13 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. If the regulator did its job properly in a proactive manner the FSCS would not be required.

  2. Not often I publicly disagree with Derek but this is a waste of your clients’ money because in this post-RDR world you have to factor it into your charges.

    The Financial Services Compensation Scheme – using your clients’ money to pay for other people’s mistakes.

    A far more honest strap line.

  3. Slightly close to the wind on the radio adverts as well

    “backed by the Govt” – not funded by levy’s abainst the industry.

  4. whilst I found the salary of the head of the MAS and it’s name objectionable, the actual cost to me of MAS is negligable and as I make full use of their brochures, I think their printing & postage costs for the brochures I use may exceed what I am paying to MAS.

    For group scheme members and those coinsidering annuities or evn divorce, then directing them to to look at MAS website BEFORE seeking advice can either help the client make their own informed decisions OR decide they REALLY need face to face help (it is surprising how many people are nearly illiterate or have sight or hearing problems)

  5. As to FSCS adverts, surely it is more important for the FSCS to be moire open about what they do and do not cover first, I.e are fort HomeISAs covered or not and don’t pay for non reg from reg firms levies please.

  6. I doubt it makes any difference what anyone says as they will never listen and will continue to waste money as usual as they don’t have to eanr or generate it like those who have to pay whatever they decide.

    Maybe Derek should join them a bit like Nigel Farage of UKIP and then work from within to make changes.

    For all the words that have been said and printed over the years nothing has changed.

  7. What exactly is the intention behind these adverts?

    Are they aimed at infusing confidence into a population struggling with the FSAs proven inability to deal with PPI, Libor-rigging and bank mis-advice?

    Or could it be that somebody at the FSCS has been handed a budget which must be spent in order that next years allocation isn’t down-sized.

    How many consumers know or care about FSCS, FOS or MAS. Do they care about RDR, FSA or FCA?

    A monumental waste of our money, something that the financial regulators/support services are very, very good at.

  8. The idea behind the advertsing is to ENCOURAGE investent and to ENCOURAGE savings by letting consumers know that there are safety nets in place if things go wrong. Especially important considering the lack of trust in the banks and advice sectors at the moment. If you dont advertise this, no-one will know!

  9. Missold Investor 13th March 2013 at 9:57 am

    This is about FSCS jockying for political profile and trying to keep itself relevant. FSCS needs to start by building confidence through its deeds, rather than through advertising.

  10. matty said “Especially important considering the lack of trust in the banks and advice sectors at the moment”

    I have yet to meet a competent established IFA who thinks his clients don’t trust him implicitly.

    Where has this perception that consumers do not trust their advisers come from?

    Certainly not mine and many other colleagues clients that I know of.

    So the question begs to be asked “Who is promoting distrust in the UK financial industry”???

    A three letter word may be adequate.

  11. Ned, obviously this is not aimed at clients of existing advisors, why would it be? This is aimed at people who dont recieve advice, people who earn modest to little incomes and need to be encouraged to save for thier future. These are the people that read newspapers and hear about this financial scandal and that mis-selling scandal and have an inherent distrust of financial services.
    Why must everything be a personal attack with you lot??

  12. I am with Matty on this. Let’s get real. Public trust in financial services could not be lower. People don’t trust the whole sector because they have been repeatedly ripped off by firms ranging from banks to unscrupulous IFAs. If the FSCS adverts help to reassure the majority of people who don’t trust firms, then that is a good thing. So maybe we should all stop bleating and start capitalising on the potential benefits of this. Now, of course, I expect to suffer a massive salvo of ill informed and offensive vitriol from those who will not open their minds to alternative views.

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