Google to Limit UK Ads to FCA Approved Financial Companies

Steve Muchoki

According to Google, the policy is a cross-industry measure designed to fight against fraudulent activities in the UK.

Google LLC (NASDAQ: GOOGL) will soon bar UK financial-services providers from advertising if they are unregulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The announcement made today specified an update on the Google Ads Financial Products and Services policy on August 30, 2021. The policy will be enforced a week later on September 6, the same year.

By enforcement time, UK’s financial advertisers must demonstrate FCA authorization and complete a verification process to showcase ads. The requirement covers all financial services products whether or not they are FCA regulated. Alternatively, companies may also become eligible to one of the limited exceptions as described in the UK Financial Services verification page.

According to Google, the policy is a cross-industry measure designed to fight against fraudulent activities in the UK. FCA certification will ensure safety for Google’s consumers, especially since scammers mostly lure them with promising financial endeavors.

Crypto firms now have until March 31, 2021, to become FCA registered. This will determine if they are meeting counter-terrorist and anti-money laundering financing standards. At writing time, only six companies had completed the application process, with Mode Global being the most recent.

Reportedly, 64 companies had abandoned the UK regulatory registration bids, with 13 of them giving up in June. This has happened despite the industry facing mounting regulatory scrutiny. Already, regulators have placed an embargo against Binance’s activities in the UK after the exchange withdrew its application in mid-May.

Google Banning Ads from FCA Unauthorized Firms in UK

Additional efforts of Google to prevent fraud in the region include joining the ‘Stop Scams UK’ movement. The company also pledged $5 million worth of advertising credits to support public awareness campaigns in the UK. Through these, consumers will be better informed about spotting and evading scammers’ tactics, both online and offline.

Moreover, Google’s partnership with the FCA has given the tech firm information on advertisers added to the FCA warning list. With this, Google’s unreliable claims policy has been updated, restricting the rates of returns advertised by a firm. The policy also “banned the use of terms that make unrealistic promises of large financial returns with minimal risk, effort or investment.”

Globally, Google has introduced a new advertiser identity verification requiring all advertisers to give personal identifying information. These include legal identification and business incorporation documents, to mention but a few.

More of such developments are to be expected from Google as stated in their blog, that “this new policy update is only the latest step in our commitment to tackling online financial crime in the UK. Our teams continue to use a mixture of machine learning and human review to analyze user experiences and take action.”

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