Whether or not it’s in your skillset, as a financial professional you probably need to navigate the world of advertising. Using images can often help get your message across but, as with words, the images, charts, graphs, illustrations and other visual aids you use can sometimes be misleading, promissory or confusing – all regulatory no-nos.
Images can help tell a story, but they can also send the wrong message. How can you know for sure? Consider the context in which the image is being used. Here are some potentially misleading images:
- High value items
- Government buildings or documents issued by the government
- Image that can instill a sense of fear – empty pockets, sinking ships and market graphs
- Money trees
- Mountain peaks or other images or graphs/charts that trend upwards
- Corporate logos (including the Brokers International logo) for which you do not have written consent from the corporation to use
Other images that might be used in marketing include charts, graphs, illustrations and visual aids. These types of images should be presented in a way that a consumer can easily understand, read and follow. The following guidelines may apply:
- Comparing unlike products could be viewed as misleading. If you’re using comparisons within your advertising, ensure that they include products that are similar in order to give the customer a fair and balanced view of each product.
- Charts and graphs should be clearly labeled and should be appropriately sized to scale.
- Provide a clear and complete snapshot of the information within the chart or graph.
- When doing any type of comparisons you should clearly label the example as hypothetical.
If you have questions regarding your marketing materials to ensure that the words and images that make up the “big picture” are presented in a way that is fair and balanced, and is not misleading send them to the Brokers International compliance team at ComplianceConnection@biltd.com. As your partner, we’ll assist you in keeping your advertising on the right side of the regulators.
This information is intended for Financial Professionals who are insurance licensed only. If you are securities licensed please contact your Broker Dealer for their requirements.
These educational pieces are intended to be informative and provide generalized guidance. They should not be construed as legal advice or provide protection against compliance violations brought on by a consumer or state insurance commission. It is the sole responsibility of the financial professional to seek compliance or legal direction specific to their individual situation. These pieces should be used as a means to raise awareness and evaluate business practices.
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