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FSCS enlists BBC’s Sherlock actor in £3m ad campaign


A new £3m advertising campaign by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will feature BBC’s Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

The ’Icons of Protection’ campaign will feature print and online adverts as well as two radio ads Cumberbatch has recorded and will point people to a new section on the FSCS’s website. The FSCS refuses to release how much of the £3m budget was paid to Cumberbatch. The campaign will run from now until 31 March 2014. 

The FSCS says the £3m budget equates to less than 0.5 per cent of what the financial services industry spends each year on marketing and advertising. In the past advisers have criticised the FSCS for its spend on marketing.

The FSCS scrapped an earlier £4m advertising campaign in September 2011 after admitting it did not have the desired impact on consumer awareness.

FSCS chief executive Mark Neale says: “The costs of the campaign are shared across the full range of financial services and do not result in a large bill for any firm.”

”Our research shows a lack of understanding and knowledge about the protection that we provide. Our awareness campaign, which includes the latest version of the radio advert, is designed to reassure the majority that their money and savings are safe, and warn those who unwittingly put their money at risk.”

When the FSCS announced it would be running a £3m campaign in January, advisers slammed the move as an “unbelievable waste of money”.


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There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Always nice to know where our money is going, even if it is a waste of it. I suppose we should be pleased that the FSCS is trying to reinflate the advertising agencies after their tough times. To say its only .5% of the Financial Services spend is a ridiculous comment as every investor gets lots of paper telling them about the FSCS.
    Perhaps its more about making work to keep jobs and salaries.

  2. This is an utterly disgraceful waste of our money, and nothing more than foolish self aggrandisement.

    Does it really matter if people are blissfully unaware of the FSCS? What is important is that statutory cover is in place and that the responsible entities are efficient and effective.

    Following on from the FSCS’ extravagant witch hunt against Keydata IFAs, this spending spree is a slap in the face for those that fund the FSCS and Mark Neale should be sacked.

  3. I am paying for this 9th August 2013 at 10:16 am

    They should include a section encouraging members of the public to complain about any organisation that collects it’s fees by percentage charges.

    With any luck, the FCA and FSCS would then top the pile for compensation seekers like myself

  4. This is a disgrace. My contribution to FSCS, included in my annual fees for 2013/2014 was a whopping £2500. A huge amount for any small firm.

  5. Typical response from the head of a ‘quango’ who is funded by an industry levy and who is effectively spending other peoples hard earned money with no financial impact being felt by himself. Can anyone please tell me why a scheme like the FSCS feels the need to advertise itself in a similar manner to Tesco or Ford, does he think that investors are going to rush out and buy into or purchase their services? Confidence in the scheme would be increased if they could explain how they reach a decision over who to compensate and who to not (see NDFA capital at risk / capital protected plans – which carried exactly the same risk warnings, and which were marketed in exactly the same illconceived way.

  6. Why does the FSCS need to advertise?

    Isn’t there a danger that like scumbag CMCs they risk stirring up claims from the very people who should not be claiming.

    As I and the rest of the industry fund both the genuine and the opportunistic claimants I would rather the money be spent on compensation and not on encouraging further compensation.

  7. I am a mortgage broker and for a change I think the FSCS is right to bring the FSCS and the compensation limits to the attention of the public. I am not sure if using a famous actor at a large cost is necessary, but I think some advisers fail to educate their customers about what FSCS does and what the limits are. I regularly hear about advisers who do not fully understand when and why the FSCS exist and this is really bad!

  8. “…budget equates to less than 0.5 per cent of what the financial services industry spends each year on marketing and advertising”

    What a fatuous statement – but should we expect anything different from a Quango?

    The money that the financial services industry spends is EARNED and paid out of PROFITS. This Quango is funded by us. It earns nothing. It is yet another manifestation of the rampant compensation culture fostered by successive governments.

    As others have said, why does the FSCS even have to advertise? Every one of us who has ever received a complaint advertises on their behalf. Our TOBs and Key Facts advertise for them – so why waste OUR money?

  9. …you couldn’t make it up,
    the ad company has made a great sale there.
    what happens when the advertising campaign finishes how long before it reverts to the status quo
    awareness will reduce, therefore its been a waste.

    Why not increase exposure on client literature, then clients can re visit it at their leisure.
    another bunch that have never run a business.

  10. Lindsay Lockett 9th August 2013 at 1:20 pm

    They have been messing around with a couple of claims to helped clients make over past advice connected to Arch Cru & others for 2 years now. I wish they’d spend the £3m of getting more efficient, not on trying to drum up move work they can’t handled.

  11. £3M!!! of our money.

  12. The new adverts are only about deposits. The FSCS funding system means that only the banks are paying for this so why are people carping on about their money when they aren’t with the banks? Get a grip people….

  13. When faced with this sort of expenditure I ask my clients how they feel about the fact that a part of their bill is paying for this. Curiously they all seem to think that it’s a bad idea. I haven’t used the “argument” that its only a very small part of their bill to convince them. But I will in future use Mr Neale’s argument and see if the response differs or becomes even more negative.

  14. The first document we’re required to present to all prospective clients and to existing clients seeking advice additional to that provided in the past is our Client Agreement. This document makes clear and unequivocal reference to the FSCS. It basically says that if we screw up and are unable to meet our obligations, you may be able to refer your complaint to and obtain compensation from the FSCS.

    Presumably, banks are also required to present their clients with a Client Agreement so, unless they’re failing to run through its key points with each and every client, how has any lack of awareness arisen?

    Just what was this research that showed “a lack of understanding and knowledge about the protection that we [the FSCS] provides”?

    What prompted the FSCS to commission it in the first place?

    What questions were asked, not least Were you provided with a Client Agreement at the outset of your dealings with any financial services companies? If the answer is yes, the next question has to be Was the existence and purpose of the FSCS drawn to your attention? If the answer is no, the problem surely lies with the organisation’s presentation of its Client Agreement? More probably, the answer will have been Er, dunno, can’t remember. Will the FSCS spending another £3m fix that? Somehow, I doubt it.

    Which organisation carried out this research?

    At what cost?

    Who has sanctioned this latest expenditure of OPM?

    How will this latest awareness campaign differ from the last one that cost £4m but turned out to be a waste of OPM?

    Will any sort of Benefits:Cost Analysis be undertaken to determine whether or not this latest £3m has been well and effectively spent?

    And finally, what the financial services industry spends each year on marketing and advertising its wares and services has sod-all to do with what the FSCS is reasonably entitled to spend on publicising its existence and purpose. Any comparison is entirely specious.

  15. Elementary my dear Julian.

  16. Sometimes a contrary view being expressed may be helpful. I don’t like paying for FSCS, BUT, as Julian has highlighted, the advice we all give IS covered by the FSCS, while most pension liberation and many similar “schemes” are not. If the adverts focus on WHY people should only use regulated advisers and that where unregulated products are used as part of a portfolio, they are NOT covered. £3mill is a lot though.

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