France has launched a training module for crypto and finance influencers.
The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) have created the Responsible Influence Certificate in Finance program.
This comes two years after ARPP released the Responsible Influence Certificate, after they found 25% of “online materials” did not accurately disclose the presence of paid advertising.
The new module focuses on influencers specific to the crypto and finance industry.
“Protecting retail investors is our top priority. If a publication by an influencer is paid for, it is crucial that the public is clearly informed.” AMF Chair Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani said. “Finance is a highly regulated sector, and investment communications must comply with the rules and be clear, accurate, non-misleading, and balanced,” she added. “It appears that some influencers are unaware of this.”
Specific guidance is provided around investment products (such as bonds and ETFs) as well as the offering of services like portfolio management and investment advice.
France has launched a certificate program for financial influencers, including crypto 🇫🇷
You want to advertise any tokens and crypto services in France?
Pass the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising. You’ll need to receive at least 75% correct answers to…
— Patrick Hansen (@paddi_hansen) September 8, 2023
Interestingly, the module also features specifics around how to “check authorisations, crypto-assets, and digital asset providers (DASPs)”. This comes after a number of crypto influencers have promoted projects that have collapsed—such as the $1 billion FTX influencer lawsuit.
“The certificate is useful for everyone.” Stéphane Martin, General Manager of the ARPP, said. “By combining their respective areas of expertise, the work with the AMF to create a specific module for financial advertising, enabling influencers to understand the applicable provisions of positive law and the recommendations of the ARPP Code, is part of a common and shared objective of protecting the public-retail investors.”
Influencers must at least get 75% of a 25 multiple-choice question exam correct, in order to receive the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising. This new module can only be obtained once an influencer passes the original Responsible Influence Certificate.
The ARPP will monitor certified content creators and will withdraw the certificate if they find evidence of non-compliance with the rules, laws, and ethical guidelines the module educates influencers on.
It’s important to note that it is not a legal requirement for influencers to have these certificates in France. That said, they do provide key information about the laws of the country, failure to comply could lead to legal repercussions.
That said, a result of the original Responsible Influence Certificate was that some brands made the certificate a mandatory requirement for collaboration.
“This responsible influence certificate in financial advertising will help to professionalize this field and protect investors from financial products that are too complex or too risky.” Barbat-Layani added. “We encourage professionals who turn to influencers to ensure that they have obtained the certificate.”