Financial services is without a doubt one of the world’s most regulated industries. It always has been. This traditional, thriving and ever-evolving sector is accustomed to complying with directives and regulations in almost every aspect of its operations, and customer-facing communication is no exception.
In email marketing, regulatory compliance is a requirement, and that applies to both B2B and retail banking. But, this doesn’t mean that the FCA is giving organizations a run for their money. The purpose is to protect markets, businesses and clients alike by establishing transparent rules of conduct. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive is a case in point. The latest update to MiFID was introduced at the beginning of 2018 with the aim of improving transparency and trade reporting in European financial markets, but also to further protect businesses and consumers. MiFID II provides a framework for promotional and customer engagement activities run by Financial Services organizations including traditional banks and FinTechs and requires a specific approach when it comes to the context and tone of communications.
When designing an email campaign for the financial services industry, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Marketing material and correspondence sent to existing or potential customers must comply with MiFID II. That includes promotions and disclosure of fees.
- MiFID II demands language that is “fair, clear and not misleading.” This of course is good practice for marketing communications generally but has now become compulsory for financial services organizations in Europe.
- Marketing material should provide specific details about the anticipated performance of financial instruments and investments.
- Warnings about risk must be prominent and clearly displayed in the same font type/size used for marketing content.
- Marketing assets must be retained for at least five years.
Compliance can be expensive – the cost to the financial services industry as a whole is estimated to be over $2B – but it doesn’t have to “break the bank.” The market is evolving rapidly and with the strict regulations now in place, following best practices and leveraging email platform analytics will help banks and FinTechs to operate within the regulatory guidelines without having to invest in onerous compliance resources or compromising the outcome of their marketing campaigns.