With the recent ongoing pressure on finance influencers, known as “finfluencers,” who promote numerous investment products on their YouTube channels or blogs, France is taking an excellent initiative by introducing a non-obligatory licensing program.
On September 7, 2023, it was revealed that two of France’s regulatory agencies, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) and the Autorite de Regulation Professionnelle de la Publicite (ARPP), have collaboratively introduced a non-obligatory certification program called the “Responsible Influence Certificate.”
This certificate isn’t entirely new, as it was first introduced by the ARPP in 2021. Since then, more than 1,000 French influencers have obtained it. However, the recent development involves the creation of a specialized course within the certificate program aimed at financial influencers. This course will cover various financial products, including crypto-assets, equities, bonds, ETFs, funds, derivatives, and even unconventional investments like wine.
To achieve the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising, influencers will need to answer a minimum of 75% of 25 multiple-choice questions correctly. While the certificate isn’t a mandatory legal requirement, the ARPP reserves the authority to revoke it from influencers who fail to comply with the established guidelines. Furthermore, individuals seeking this certificate must first obtain the “general Certificate,” developed by the ARPP for all influencers.
In a recent report by Todayq News in May 2023, the French Senate approved an amendment allowing registered cryptocurrency businesses to engage social media influencers for advertising and promotional activities. This contrasts with the situation in the United Kingdom, where regulators have issued warnings to influencers, emphasizing that their promotions could potentially lead to offenses punishable by up to two years in jail, an unlimited fine, or both. Meanwhile, the European Consumer Organisation is actively advocating for a complete ban on influencers advertising cryptocurrencies.
These measures represent a concerted effort by French authorities to balance empowering influencers in the financial sector and safeguarding the interests of consumers. While not obligatory, the Responsible Influence Certificate serves as a tool to encourage responsible and informed financial promotion in an era where influencers hold considerable sway over public opinion and investment decisions.