In a move to regulate the burgeoning field of financial influencers, France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) have jointly launched a training module. This initiative aims to professionalize commercial influence in the financial sector, which has recently come under legal regulation. The training module is part of the “Responsible Influence Certificate,” a credential that has already been issued to nearly 1,000 French influencers since its inception in 2021 by the ARPP.
Details of the certificate
The specialized course covers various financial products and services, including equities, bonds, ETFs, funds, and derivatives. It also delves into crypto-assets and digital asset service providers (DASPs). To earn the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising, influencers must score at least 75% on a 25-question multiple-choice exam. While the certificate is not legally mandatory, the ARPP reserves the right to revoke it for non-compliance.
The French Senate approved an amendment in May 2023, allowing registered cryptocurrency companies to hire social media influencers for advertising and promotional purposes. This stands in stark contrast to the United Kingdom, where regulators have warned influencers that their promotions could result in up to two years in jail, an unlimited fine, or both. Meanwhile, the European Consumer Organisation is lobbying for a total ban on crypto advertising for influencers.
The AMF and ARPP are also planning to update the ARPP’s Codes on the financial sector and create a new Code for advertising digital assets. These updates are scheduled to take effect from October 1, 2023. A session to raise awareness among ARPP members and content creators is also in the pipeline for this fall, led by experts from both regulatory bodies.
In summary, the Responsible Influence Certificate aims to bring a level of professionalism and accountability to the rapidly growing field of financial influencers. With contrasting regulatory landscapes across Europe, France’s proactive approach could serve as a model for other nations grappling with the challenges posed by financial influencers.