The Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) has said that it has seen a “significant and predominantly positive response” to its recent campaign to highlight the growing issue of investment mis-selling in the Island.
Now in its second week, the regulator said that the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about the issue and to offer guidance so that local investors are better armed against a rising number of financial services ‘scams’ and unsuitable advice.
Since the launch of the campaign last Monday, as reported, the JFSC said that it has received a handful of calls to its dedicated mis-selling helpline and members of the public have also contacted the regulator with intelligence relating to potentially new cases of mis-selling in the Island which the JFSC’s Enforcement team is currently investigating.
The JFSC said in a statement announcing the feedback, that the first week of the campaign also generated “substantial digital interaction”. In particular, more than 15,000 people engaged with the JFSC on Facebook by ‘liking’, commenting or sharing posts with nearly 3,000 viewed a short film online about one local investor’s experiences of losing her life savings and the regulator’s Twitter channel saw a 500% increase in activity.
John Harris, JFSC director general said that the campaign was designed to “raise awareness and to start a debate locally” about what the regulator regards as a “growing concern”.
“It’s the first time that we, the JFSC, have done such a campaign and so far we have been really pleased with how the Jersey public is reacting to it, particularly on social media,” he said. “We appreciate that not everyone will agree with the initiative but, as I have said on a number of occasions since we launched the campaign, creating debate and raising awareness are our objectives, and if we can stop just one local investor from losing their life savings as a result of this publicity then it has been worth doing.”
Similar moves have, as reported, been introduced in the Isle of Man and Guernsey in a bid to stop the rise in the number of financial services ‘scams’ and mis-selling coming from the UK.
To deliver its campaign, JFSC has partnered with the Personal Finance Society (PFS), the professional body for the UK financial planning profession. This working relationship is set to continue into 2017 with mutual commitment to continue raising awareness, the JFSC statement said.
The JFSC added that it will pursue its work in this area beyond the two week period of the campaign. Ongoing work includes producing and publishing guidance for local financial advisers regarding dealing with vulnerable clients, working with local professionals to identify bad practice and mis-selling, and presenting the campaign work to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, IOSCO Committee 8 (International Organisation of Securities Commissions), GIFCS (Global International Finance Centre Supervisors, and other regulators in the coming months.