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The FCA – TikTok’s newest star? How our new campaign, InvestSmart, is helping young investors.

In September last year we published our Consumer Investments Strategy, setting out our view of harm in the consumer investments market, as well as a 3 year plan to address it. Two of our key priorities are to reduce the number of people with a low risk tolerance, or who demonstrate characteristics of vulnerability, investing in high-risk products. And to reduce the number of people with a higher risk tolerance holding more than £10,000 in cash.

Helping consumers better understand risk, so that they are more confident and can make effective investment decisions, is key to helping us to meet this target. And this is the central theme of our new InvestSmart campaign, which has the strap-line of pause, do your research and “Don’t Get Played”.

Planning the campaign

To inform our campaign, we commissioned Britain Thinks to conduct research to understand investors who engage in high-risk investments. Our research found that many inexperienced, young investors are motivated by competition and influenced by hype. For some, the emotions and feelings that come from investing are driving their decisions, and they enjoy the thrill and the status that comes with ‘being an investor’. Our research found:

  • Over ¾ of those under 40 who invest in high-risk products (such as cryptocurrency and forex) are driven by competition – with friends, family, acquaintances, and competition with their own past investments
  • 58% say hype on social media and in the news lies behinds their investment decisions
  • Over 4 in 10 investors do not view ‘losing some money’ as a potential risk of investing.
  • Nearly two thirds (59%) claim that a significant investment loss would have a fundamental impact on their current or future lifestyle.

Having identified our most at-risk audience, we worked with our creative agency to establish an approach for our advertising.

In October 2021 we launched InvestSmart, our £11m campaign targeting new, younger investors, using a gaming theme to capture our audience’s attention. Our creative testing found the 90s gaming visuals were relatable, attention-grabbing and likely to encourage positive, long-term investment practices and help empower younger investors, not inhibit them. We want investors to know the risks as well as the rewards when considering investments.

Our campaign has a number of different elements. We launched a new InvestSmart website as well as taking to social media to get our message to our target audience. All of this is an example of the FCA trying to do things differently, to reach those who do not typically interact with us in our role as a regulator, or read our regulatory publications. We are regularly producing content on a range of topics to help our audience make better-informed investment decisions. From 5 questions to ask before you invest to Diversification and Understanding high-risk investments - there’s information to help our target audience become smarter investors, and it’s growing all the time.

Social media and influencers

The InvestSmart campaign has already taken the FCA into some new and exciting territories. We have worked with influencers on TikTok (a first for the FCA), we have used digital display advertising, social media and advertising on search engines to raise awareness of the campaign and the issues it’s designed to tackle, and drive consumers to our website.

To launch the campaign we partnered with Olympic BMX gold medallist Charlotte Worthington drawing the parallels between planning and preparing for high risk sport, and the need to pause and do your research before investing.

In a personal as well as FCA first, I participated in an Instagram Live event in November. I was joined by a panel of financial influencers (or ‘finfluencers’), alongside Oenone, host of the Adulting podcast, to discuss ‘how to become a smart investor’. It was a brilliant session and great to have so many people join the Instagram Live, and it’s even more rewarding to know people are still engaging with the session.

While it is perhaps unexpected to see the FCA using channels like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, there’s also good reason for it. Our research shows this new investor audience are using social media for investment research, tips and news. The data shows that these channels are increasingly important to ensure that we can reach our audience, where they are. Being a data-driven regulator is a focal point of the FCA’s new transformation agenda and the InvestSmart campaign is great example of this being put into action.

How you can help

You can sign-up for updates and information on the InvestSmart campaign. We have an InvestSmart resources page - containing a partner toolkit, social media pack and the press release.

Our partners play a vital role in supporting the campaign and helping consumers to make better investment decisions. Help to spread the InvestSmart message and please do give us feedback as this campaign evolves - we’re looking forward to working with you on this new campaign.

Last updated 28/04/2022