A new Financial Advertising Code (Code) will replace the existing Code for Financial Advertising effective 1 March 2022 for new, and 1 June 2022 for all existing, financial advertising captured.
The Code has been developed by the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to better fit the current legislative landscape and provide a clearer and more detailed set of guidelines for the industry and consumers alike.
The Code applies to financial advertising. This captures messages communicated in any medium, controlled directly or indirectly by advertisers with the intent to influence the choice, opinion, or behaviour of those it is addressed to and is for the purpose of promoting a financial product or service. Online financial advertising, including through influencers, is covered by the Code.
Financial product or service is a new definition in the Code. Consistent with the overall approach of the Code, the intention is for consumers to easily understand if an advertisement is captured. This is achieved by including a non-exclusive list of products and services covered. The list ranges from insurance and credit cards, to buy now, pay later products and cryptocurrencies.
Advertisers and their agents, such as influencers, are also responsible for ensuring that user generated content complies with the Code when they are part of the advertisement.
Strengthened consumer protections
Financial advertising continues to be held to a high standard of social responsibility. As well as being easily understandable, truthful, and not misleading or deceptive, the Code sets out that the content of financial advertising must not take advantage of consumers who may be financially vulnerable or have limited knowledge about financial products and services.
The Code will need to be considered in conjunction with the Advertising Standards Code and other legal requirements relating to financial products, such as the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 and the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003.
Fundamentally, the Code is a user-friendly guide for your average consumer to the ASA financial advertising rules. The rules are easy to understand, and this, along with the straightforward complaint process the ASA provides, makes it a convenient avenue for issues with financial advertising to be raised.