Why are you running a campaign?
Consumer awareness of the FSCS is low. Research suggests that people feel reassured when they are made aware of the Scheme. The tripartite authorities (Bank of England, HM Treasury and FSA) identified the need to improve awareness of the Scheme in 2008. Following an FSA consultation and subsequent policy update, the FSCS is raising awareness of its role, and the protection it provides as the compensation fund of last resort for all regulated products.
Why was the campaign launched in January 2011?
New rules were introduced in January and we believed it was important for consumers to know what was available to them. Changes were as follows:
- Faster payout rules came into force on 31 December 2010. This means many individuals and small businesses will now receive compensation payouts faster if a deposit taker fails – the FSCS aims to pay compensation within seven days and in a maximum of twenty days as required under the European Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive.
- Payouts will now be made on a ‘gross’ basis. This means if a depositor owes the failed bank money, the debt is no longer set off against positive deposit balances when calculating the amount of the protected deposit. Instead the Scheme will pay compensation as a gross payout up to the limit.
- Limits increased. In line with the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive the compensation limits for deposit claims increased from £50,000 to £85,000. The new limit came into force on 31 December and harmonised deposit compensation limits across Europe at €100,000 (for which £85,000 is the GBP equivalent).
Omnibus research results from September 2010 showed that the level of unprompted awareness of a compensation scheme had declined from 2009 (3% in 2010, versus 9% in 2009 and 20% in January 2008). Data also seemed to indicate a higher degree of confusion about who provides what protection.
How can you justify the costs of the programme in such tough times for firms?
Research shows the importance of people knowing more about the FSCS. This is a priority for the tripartite authorities (Bank of England, HM Treasury and FSA) as part of the measures taken to improve financial stability following the problems of 2007. The reassurance provided by awareness of FSCS provides contributes to consumer confidence and financial stability.
The campaign budget of £4m equates to roughly 0.25% of the amount spent yearly by the financial services industry on marketing and advertising.
This campaign has the support of the main industry organisations and trade bodies who see benefits in consumers being more aware of FSCS protection. The costs of the campaign are shared across the full range of financial services and do not result in a large bill for any firm.
Who made the advert?
The television commercial was made by Aardman Animation in Bristol.
How will you know if the campaign and programme have been successful?
We carried out research before the launch of the campaign to provide a baseline of awareness levels, and will conduct similar research after the first burst of advertising to measure the difference.
Why doesn’t the campaign give people much more detail about the FSCS?
Our first phase of advertising is about increasing awareness of the FSCS to support consumer confidence. Our advertising will prompt people to find out more information from us or firms. We will also provide more detail in our ongoing PR.
Why do you not mention in your advertising that the FSCS is funded by the financial services industry?
We ensured that information about the industry funding of the FSCS was included in the extensive public relations work we did before the launch of the programme and after it. Our programme prompts people to visit our web site to find out more about the protection they FSCS provides as well as its work. Many thousands of people have visited the site which also provides much information about our funding. Research with consumers found that mention of the financial services industry in our advertising may lead them to question FSCS’s independence and might be a disincentive to them finding out more information. Given the limited space available in advertising we focused on the key messages that (a) protection exists for savings, investments and insurance, and (b) you should check you are covered.
What do the trade organisations think of this campaign? Do they support it?
Yes, we have had extremely valuable support from the trade organisations as well as Which? and the Consumer Panel. [Link to quotes here.] Via our dedicated consumer awareness Advisory Panel they played a real role in helping to shape the campaign and realise the potential benefits to consumers of knowing more about the FSCS.
Are financial services firms getting behind this programme?
A wide range of firms are supporting the programme. They range from some of the biggest names in financial services to smaller firms.
What was the role of the COI in the campaign?
The Central Office of Information played a key role in procurement and in co-ordinating and developing the campaign working with the FSCS. Its input has been extremely helpful and allowed us to maximise our return on investment. The COI provided significant economies of scale and generally achieves a savings of 40% - 50% compared to the normal costs of advertising and communication services. They helped to ensure that our budget went much further than we could have achieved.
Is the financial services industry supportive of the campaign?
- The FSCS has generated significant interest and support from industry stakeholders, including backing from industry trade bodies like the BBA, BSA, ABI and APCIMS.
- A number of firms have agreed to support the campaign by promoting the FSCS on their communications materials. They believe it is important that consumers know about the protection available to them.
- Some authorised firms have asked to post the campaign character logo, Euan, on their materials and the FSCS stickers on their doors.
Are there any other organisations that support the campaign?
We have had wide support by firms across the financial sector and from all the trade organisations. The need to raise awareness of FSCS was originally identified by the Bank of England, HM Treasury and FSA which believe increasing awareness of the FSCS aids consumer confidence and contributes to financial stability.
In addition, consumer organisations such as Which? And Citizens Advice Bureau are supportive.
Who is Euan Mee?
Euan Mee is a fictional character developed for the awareness programme. He represents all of us to an extent in that he misses important signs that could help him avoid unnecessary risk – signs like ‘FSCS’.