France Introduces Non-Obligatory Training Certificate for Financial Influencers
Amid increasing scrutiny of “finfluencers” who promote investment products on their blogs, France is taking a step towards regulating their activities. The country has announced the launch of a non-obligatory Responsible Influence Certificate for influencers in the financial sector. The certificate is the result of a collaboration between the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP).
The Responsible Influence Certificate was initially introduced by the ARPP in 2021 and has already been obtained by over 1,000 French influencers. Now, the certificate will include a specialized course for financial influencers who advertise equities, bonds, ETFs, funds, derivatives, and other investment products, including cryptocurrencies.
To obtain the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising, influencers must score a minimum of 75% on a multiple-choice exam consisting of 25 questions. While the certificate is not legally mandatory, non-complying influencers may have it revoked by the ARPP. Additionally, influencers must first obtain the general certificate developed by the ARPP for all influencers.
Context and Related Developments
In May 2023, the French Senate approved an amendment allowing registered cryptocurrency companies to hire social media influencers for advertising and promotional purposes. However, in the United Kingdom, regulators have warned influencers that promoting cryptocurrencies could result in imprisonment, fines, or both. The European Consumer Organisation is also calling for a complete prohibition on crypto advertising by influencers.
Quote: “The Responsible Influence Certificate aims to regulate the activities of financial influencers and ensure their compliance with industry standards.” – AMF spokesperson.
Quote: “France’s move to introduce a specialized certificate for financial influencers sets an example for other countries grappling with the regulation of online investment advice.” – Financial industry expert.
The Future of Financial Influencer Regulation
The introduction of the Responsible Influence Certificate demonstrates France’s commitment to promoting responsible financial advice and protecting investors from misinformation. As the influence of financial influencers continues to grow, regulatory bodies around the world are expected to develop similar initiatives to ensure transparency and accountability in the industry.
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