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Home / News and Insights / Insights / ASA and FCA publish advancements in regulatory practices

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have each released significant publications that mark advancements in regulatory practices concerning advertising and financial promotions, respectively.

ASA’s Emphasis on Proactive Regulation

In its 2023 annual report, the ASA has documented its shift towards more proactive measures in the regulation of digital advertising. Notably, the agency has increased its use of artificial intelligence through the implementation of the AI-based Active Ad Monitoring System. This tool has significantly expanded the ASA’s capacity to oversee advertising content, allowing it to process a staggering three million ads in the past year alone. These ads span critical areas such as environmental claims, youth vaping, gambling, and prescription-only medicines.

Looking ahead to 2024, the ASA plans to further broaden the scope of this AI system, enhancing its efficiency and reach. This initiative is part of a broader 2024-2028 strategy that seeks to continue the transformation of ad regulation into a more collective and technologically driven effort.

Another focal point for the ASA in the upcoming year will be the regulation of misleading environmental claims. With climate change remaining a priority, the ASA is set to publish research outcomes on advertising claims related to meat, dairy, and plant-based substitutes early next year. This is alongside the continuation of its Body Image project[BM1] , which will see insights published from both stakeholder roundtables and responses to calls for input.

Additionally, the ASA will maintain its vigilance on youth vaping by monitoring related advertising and is poised to issue an enforcement notice to further curb appeal to minors. The Intermediary and Platform Principles (IPP), successfully piloted, will also be developed further, reinforcing the role of platforms and intermediaries in supporting responsible online advertising.

FCA’s Guidance on Financial Promotions

Simultaneously, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its finalised guidance on how financial promotions should be handled on social media. This guidance is aimed at firms and influencers alike, offering clear directives on how to responsibly navigate financial promotions in the dynamic realm of social media. This development underscores the FCA’s commitment to ensuring that financial information disseminated through these platforms is both transparent and conducive to maintaining public trust in financial markets.

The new guidelines mark an important step in addressing the complexities introduced by social media in financial communications. They are expected to aid in mitigating risks associated with misleading financial advice and promotions, which can have far-reaching effects on consumer confidence and market integrity.

Together, these reports from the ASA and FCA highlight a strengthening of regulatory frameworks in the UK, tailored to address the challenges posed by the digital age. Through advanced technology and updated guidelines, both authorities are setting robust standards to safeguard public interest in the rapidly evolving landscapes of advertising and financial services.

Please contact our specialist commercial team for tailored advice on how the new measures adopted by the ASA impact your business.

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