The Citizens Advice Service have just announced that they have teamed up with Chinese Social Media platform Tik Tok to launch a series of educational videos. The videos aimed at young people will try to improve financial understanding, helping people to better understand the financial terminology and to be able to spot scams. The videos will also sign post the CAB services as a first port of call.
Christina has previously worked with the CAB on a pro bono basis helping people to understand their financial situation. Unfortunately, the demands of the business and the pandemic have meant that she has had to stop.
The FCA are concerned about the lack of financial understanding amongst young people, so initiative like this will be helpful and are likely to be accessible because of the popularity of the Tik Tok platform. If it helps people to spot scams that will also be helpful.
There is clearly an interest in financial services online as the number of Google searches confirms.
The growth of cryptocurrency “investment” has also led to calls for better information and education. The FCA hasn’t intervened in the market yet as we’ve looked at before, but regulation is expected to be on its way. The FCA is particularly concerned about the losses associated with crypto. Over half the value of the market was wiped out only last week when China announced that it was banning trading of cryptocurrency.
Concerns are not unfounded as new research reveals that almost 20% of “investors” in the UK have borrowed to buy cryptocurrency. That simply would not be allowed for any form of regulated investments.
Then there is the thorny problem of Money Laundering controls which need to be introduced and which will cause real problems in the criminal crypto market.
There are signs that the online market is cleaning up however.
Google has now sent out a requirement for firms to verify that they are either authorised by the FCA, or exempt from authorisation, in order to comply with their new Google Ads Financial Products and Services Policy. We have reported on this before, but now we can confirm that its happening because we’ve been asked to verify our authorisation.
Verification is required by 30th August 2021, after that presumably all financial services adverts (through Google Ads) for financial services which are not verified will be banned?
Interestingly, there are a number of exemptions highlighted by Google in their e mails as follows:
|“Ads related to the following categories will not be considered financial services for the purposes of this policy, but are still required to comply with all other Google Ads policies:|
Google is clearly not concerned about advertising for “high risk” unregulated financial products like Contracts for Difference and Cryptocurrency.
The sooner these “products” or financial instruments become regulated the safer ordinary consumers will be.
At least action is being taken and as they say “every little bit helps”.
But could more be done? IFA Richard Smith from Money Trainers certainly thinks so. Richard has lobbied his local MP with recommendations which have been passed onto the Select Committee looking at the Online Harms bill. Unfortunately it seems that the government has rejected his suggestions, which included:
- A central register of approved advertisers held by the FCA – a good idea
- A requirement for all social media and search companies to check the register before allowing advertisers to be approved.
- Adding the requirement to check with Companies House that the advertisers are actually genuine trading companies.
- Allowing Banks to block unusual transfers over £500.
All of these seems like good suggestions which could make a real difference because they would actually get into the detail of the mechanisms through which the frauds are delivered.
In a boost to combatting fraud, Tik Tok has just announced that it will be banning all advertising of financial promotions.
Tik Tok said “its policy included, but was not limited to, lending and management of money assets, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange, pyramid schemes, investment services and get rich quick schemes, including others.”
That’s great news, if only the other platforms would follow suit. Perhaps they will?