May 29, 2024
France Introduces Certification for Financial Influencers
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France Introduces Certification for Financial Influencers

In a bid to bring oversight and accountability to the burgeoning realm of financial influencers, often termed “finfluencers,” France has unveiled a novel certification program. The initiative is centered on a non-mandatory “Responsible Influence Certificate.” The announcement, made on September 7, comes as a collaborative effort between two leading French regulatory agencies, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP). This program aims to professionalize and regulate individuals who disseminate financial advice, including those within the cryptocurrency space.

The “Responsible Influence Certificate” initially surfaced in 2021, introduced by the ARPP. Over 1,000 French influencers have already obtained this certificate. However, the latest development entails a specialized course tailored for financial influencers who endorse a wide array of financial instruments, from traditional equities, bonds, ETFs, funds, and derivatives to unique assets like wine. Interestingly, the certification program also makes a mention of crypto-assets, reflecting the growing influence of cryptocurrencies in the financial landscape.

To secure the “Responsible Influence Certificate” in Financial Advertising, aspiring influencers must correctly answer a minimum of 75% of 25 multiple-choice questions. While the certificate does not carry legal obligations, the ARPP holds the authority to revoke it from influencers who fail to comply with prescribed guidelines. Moreover, candidates must first obtain a “general Certificate” developed by the ARPP, which applies universally to all influencers.

This initiative aligns with broader global efforts to establish standards and guidelines for content creators, influencers, and experts providing financial information to the public. It underscores the critical need for transparent and expert-driven financial advice, particularly in the cryptocurrency sector, where misinformation and scams are prevalent. Back in May 2023, the French Senate took a notable step by approving an amendment that permits registered cryptocurrency firms to collaborate with social media influencers for advertising and promotional campaigns.

This move contrasts with the regulatory landscape in the United Kingdom, where influencers have been cautioned about potential criminal charges for promoting cryptocurrencies, including imprisonment of up to two years, hefty fines, or both. Additionally, the European Consumer Organisation is actively advocating for an outright ban on cryptocurrency advertising by influencers.

France’s move to certify financial influencers represents a noteworthy effort to strike a balance between fostering responsible financial education and safeguarding consumers in the digital age, particularly within the evolving cryptocurrency ecosystem. It reflects an industry-wide recognition of the need for professionalism and expertise in delivering financial information and advice to the public.

Image by Freepik

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