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Financial services leaders not happy with FINRA's new ads

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Financial services industry leaders are voicing their disapproval of FINRA’s new ad campaign, saying the advertisements shed a negative light on the role of financial advisors.

In a joint letter issued publically to FINRA Chairman and CEO Richard Ketchum, Dale Brown and Steve Bartlett, respective presidents and CEOs of the Financial Services Institute and The Financial Services Roundtable chided FINRA’s new ads, which launched last month. The campaign aims to protect and educate consumers against investment fraud.

FINRA’s radio and TV ads started running in June and will continue into the fall, according to the Associated Press.

“We are concerned that the advertisements are inconsistent with current industry norms,” Brown and Bartlett wrote.

In their letter, Brown and Bartlett note a specific message they say is misleading. The message is conveyed in one of FINRA’s ads entitled “Promises”:

“We Americans are trusting by nature. We expect promises to be kept. So when we put money away, we expect it will be there tomorrow.”

The advertisement, according to Brown and Bartlett’s letter, suggests client losses are caused by advisors’ broken promises.

“When people invest in the stock or bond market, they are not ‘putting money away,’” Brown and Bartlett said. “They are putting money at risk in hope of a return on their investment…Financial advisors offer opportunities for growth or income to investors willing to accept the associated risk with such opportunities.”

A FINRA spokesman told the Associated Press, the ads “target policymakers as well, even as the agency angles for a more prominent role in regulating Wall Street.”