France’s finance and advertising regulators have united to launch a new certification program for crypto and financial influencers. This initiative aims to professionalize the industry and protect investors. However, this certificate will remain optional for content creators.
The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) released new details about their “Responsible Influence Certificate” on September 7 through the AMF’s official website.
Growing Role of Influencers in Finance
Younger generations increasingly rely on influencers, or “finfluencers,” for financial advice. Social media platforms, especially Instagram and TikTok, have become popular hubs for investment and trading tips.
To obtain the “Responsible Influence Certificate,” influencers must score 75% or more on a 25-question exam. Notably, this module is only available after completing the broader “general” certificate. Contrary to some reports, securing this certificate is not a prerequisite to becoming a French financial influencer.
The curriculum addresses the legal complexities of promoting investment offers and highlights restricted advertising areas. This especially applies to high-risk contracts, like binary options and certain CFDs on Forex.
Yet, certain brands in France are inclined to collaborate exclusively with certified influencers. The issuing bodies also hold the discretion to rescind the certificate depending on the terms.
The regulators unveiled plans for the “Responsible Influence Certificate” in July 2022. The expanded module will now encompass cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and traditional financial products such as equities, bonds, ETFs, funds, and derivatives. However, it deliberately excludes subjects like banking and insurance.
The Imperative for Certification
The influencer market, majorly populated by legally inexperienced young people, has encountered several challenges. Indeed, a 2021 ARPP study analyzing 30,000 social media pieces disclosed that 25% of influencers did not adequately declare their brand associations.
This discovery led to the debut of the influencer certification program in September 2021. It has since been updated and refined.
The French government’s objective with this certification is to equip financial influencers better to guide their followers and safeguard potential investors.
In the backdrop of this development, crypto influencers navigate legal complications. Earlier this year, a prominent example is Edwin Garrison lodging a $1 billion class-action suit against “FTX influencers” and related parties.
Initiated on March 15 in Florida, the lawsuit accuses the respondents, including eight YouTubers and a talent management entity, of not disclosing sponsorship ties and lacking proper due diligence.
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