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Your advice (on FMA ads) please

Thursday, July 7th 2011, 4:22PM 10 Comments

by Philip Macalister

Here’s a curly one you can give me your advice on. Clearly financial advisers are  not particularly happy with the FMA and its advertising rolled out this week. You just have to read through the comments on this story to get a feel for how strongly people feel about these ads. The little dilemma we face at Good Returns is that before we saw these ads the FMA’s advertising agency had booked to run these ads across Good Returns and some of our other websites. We could say that these ads are inappropriate for Good Returns and not run them. However there would be a cost here financially, and quite possibly on our relationship. We could say the ads are  not illegal – possibly in poor taste – and we should accept the revenue. This advertising revenue is important as it allows us to provide you the readers with a high quality free news service. I look forward to your advice on the matter. Of course you won’t need to provide a disclosure statement or anything like that!

You can read Philip's blog here: http://www.goodreturns.co.nz/blog/

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Comments from our readers

On 7 July 2011 at 7:52 pm Tony Vidler said:
I would say that you have a commcial imperative with your stakeholders to keep your publication running if at all possible, and if this is a source of revenue that you are comfortable with then take the work. There is an analogy about keeping people inside the tent, as opposed to having them outside creating havoc which sort of fits here....

It is interesting though that the FMA would see it as necessary to put this particular advertising in industry publications. Clearly it is aimed at consumers, and letting them know the rules have changed. Presumably everyone inside the industry is vaguely aware that the rules have changed though, and I cannot see anything in this advertising that helps the industry better understand the regulators desires or intent.

Is it in poor taste? Absolutely. Is that sufficient reason to refuse to run it? Probably not. Personally I would rather know the bad things being said and be in a position of knowledge and able to deal with it effectively, than be ignorant.
On 8 July 2011 at 8:44 am Curious said:
Hi Phil thanks for recognising that the ad is generally inflamatory to advisers and thinking about the consequences. Reading the herald website this morning the ad "popped up" and my first reaction was a feeling of anger to have this provocative ad in my face again when I am trying to read an article. I suspect my reaction is going to be the same wherever I see this ad and would prefer not to have to look at it.
On 8 July 2011 at 8:54 am Industry Insider said:
Tony - sorry to tell you this - but hundreds of advisers still don't realise what has changed. Truly with all the hard work everyone has put in it is surprising to hear the - regulation - whats that?
On 8 July 2011 at 10:07 am Jeff Royle said:
Said this before. The Ad is in poor taste, does not do anyone (including the FMA) any favours and doesn't really tell the consumer anything. The NZMBA/PAA etc had no input into this and were merely given a preview with no ability to add/modify or change. Great, a heavy handed Regulator making a poor decision on day one, just what we all need. Whilst on the subject on confusion.....the new new RFA Disclosure Statement is a joke, name rank and serial number telling the consumer nothing, at least the old one (NZMBA anyway) gave the consumer background information about who they were dealing with. Poor start FMA, need to do better.
On 8 July 2011 at 11:01 am Independent Observer said:
The industry discomfort is aimed at the architect of the message, not the communicator – so my advice would be to run the ads business as usual.

Thanks for the industry sensitivity though
On 8 July 2011 at 11:32 am Stephen P said:
It is interesting that the News of The World newspaper ran into trouble this week when the opposite situation occurred. Advertisers withdrew their business in protest at the newspaper ‘crossing the line’ over the phone hacking scandal.
I am definitely not suggesting that our ‘crossing the line’ is of the same order. The FMA is still running the advert and clearly still believe it to be OK. We have to wait for the Advertising Standards Authority to give a ruling. Unfortunately their next meeting is mid August and by then the damage will have been done.
Tony mentions the importance of stakeholders. One stakeholder, Curious, writes of his anger when he sees the advert. If part of the industry has ‘crossed the line’ (and yes that seems to be arguable), is there not a moral imperative for other industry participants to attempt to change the situation rather than condoning it? Will Good Returns lose significant good-will by running the advertisement? Would Good Returns normally be taking an editorial position on the advertisement? Could it still do so if it runs the advertisement? No easy answers here.
On 9 July 2011 at 6:48 am tony vidler said:
I agree with anonymous Industry Insider - many many advisers are still not up to speed with changes I would guess. Even more consumers are not. I agree with the FMA advising the world that things have changed using some form of publicity campaign, indeed I think it absolutely necessary. It is the tenor of the campaign which was being debated however.

as far as Good Returns running the ad, that is ultimately their call. I too did my online morning read, scouring the papers for important news on the Crusaders, and the fist ad I saw on Stuff was the Cowboy...why not Good Returns too?

If an industry supplier somehow got it self unpopular with advisers, would Good Returns be expected to pull all advertising from that supplier? I think not. It is a commercial industry publication, not a popularity polling machine.
On 9 July 2011 at 6:26 pm blackjaguar said:
We hereby give our consent for GoodReturns to extract as many advertising dollars from the FMA as it is able to fit in its saddles.
On 11 July 2011 at 7:57 am Philip said:
Thanks for your feedback on this issue guys. We’ve been talking to the FMA about this and decided that the ads won’t be included on Good Returns. The reason being that the ads are aimed at consumers and Good Returns is a site for advisers.
We will be running the ads across some of our other sites as was originally planned.
On 11 July 2011 at 11:54 am Fred said:
Robin Hood wouldn't hesitate to take the 'Sherriff of Dibley's' shilling

Take the cheque - it is AFA's funds anyway.
Commenting is closed



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