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FSA in plea to public for alert on misleading ads

The FSA is calling on the public to be vigilant over financial advertisements they feel are misleading and has published a guide on its website to help them identify misleading ads.

It wants consumers to send in examples of ads they do not believe are genuine.

Consumer director Anna Bradley says in the run-up to the Isa season her department will be especially keen to hear about ads for investment products such as unit trusts and Oeics to make sure they are meeting the FSA&#39s “clear, fair and not misleading” standard.

In most cases, firms are required to withdraw or modify any ad deemed to be misleading, although enforce- ment action can be taken against companies.

Firms are not obliged to show the regulator any ads they plan to run before using them but the FSA says it will take action against firms whose ads fall foul of the rules.

The guide points out how firms will often use the small print at the bottom of ads to make their products look better than they may really be. Its publication follows a report the FSA issued to firms last year setting out the advertising guidelines.

Bradley says: “If consumers spot something they think is misleading, we would like to hear from them. Do not assume that we have already seen it.It is impossible for us to monitor all the ads and marketing material that is produced. Consumer feedback will help us to protect the public.”

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