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FSA pledges help with ads but rules out pre-vetting

The FSA has vowed to work more closely with financial companies over their ads but has maintained its position on not pre-vetting ads, saying this is “a bridge too far”.

In its business plan for the next financial year, the regulator says it will look at the marketing strategies of financial services companies and set up systems and services that will “help the industry to prevent misselling from advertising material”.

As part of the change in focus, the FSA will also be expanding its reach to include advertising and marketing on television rather than just focusing on printed material, as it has so far.

A new department will be responsible for looking at the marketing strategies of financial services companies.

But, crucially, any move to pre-approve ads before they go live has been rejected des-pite widespread calls from the industry. Spokesman Rob McIvor says resources are better spent elsewhere on initiatives such as consumer education.

The business plan confirms that the regulator will soon be publishing a consultation updating the final rules for depolarisation, including the menu. It expects that firms will be able to take advantage of the relaxation by the fourth quarter of the year.

It will be carrying out a fundamental review of projection rates, saying the system is “crudely structured”, and will consult on a revised key facts disclosure regime after a sev-ere backlash from the industry on proposals to replace key features documents last year.

McIvor says: “Pre-vetting financial advertising is not something we intend to do but we are looking to use this dep-artment to help the industry understand how to produce compliant advertising and prevent misselling.”

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