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FCA teams up with Love Island star to educate finance influencers

The worlds of regulation and reality TV are colliding to tackle the rise of the ‘fin-fluencer’.

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Sharon Gafka/Shutterstock.

An unlikely duo have joined forces to help combat the rise in online scamming: the UK’s financial regulators and a former Love Island-er.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have brought Sharon Gafka on board to help educate ‘fin-fluencers’.

The partnership follows a rise in illegal financial promotions and growing concerns over the damage influencers can cause their followers by promoting dangerous or illegal products and services.

Herself a social media influencer, Gafka will help the FCA and ASA engage with other influencers and their agents, providing clear information about what could be considered illegal financial promotion.

“We’ve seen more cases of influencers touting products that they shouldn’t be. They are often doing this without knowledge of the rules and without [an] understanding of the harm they could cause their followers,” FCA Markets executive director Sarah Pritchard said.

“We want to work with influencers so they keep on the right side of the law, as this will also help protect people from being shown scams or investments that are too risky.”

According to the FCA’s annual financial promotions report, intervention by the regulator led to more than 8,500 promotions being amended or withdrawn during 2022 — 14 times more than in 2021. 

The FCA also published almost 2000 consumer warnings on its website relating to unauthorised activities last year.

In addition to inviting influencer agents and the Influencer Marketing Trade Body to an open roundtable discussion on illegal financial promotions, the FCA has created an infographic on responsible promotion.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure that influencers are equipped with the training and advice they need to help them advertise responsibly,” FCA director of complaints and investigations Miles Lockwood said.

“From setting up a dedicated webpage to highlight those who are publishing misleading content, to using cutting edge data science to process more ads than ever, we’re seeing influencers increasingly understanding and following the rules.

“But we recognise that there are still problems, particularly around financial products. That’s why we’re pleased to be partnering with the FCA and Sharon Gaffka to help educate influencers about the risks and responsibilities around marketing these products.”

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