FCA Charges Reality TV Stars Over ‘Finfluencer’ Campaign

The FCA charges several reality TV stars, including Lauren Goodger, for promoting an unauthorized trading scheme, highlighting regulatory risks in influencer marketing.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has charged several reality TV stars, including former The Only Way is Essex star Lauren Goodger, for promoting an unauthorized trading scheme to their social media followers.

The FCA alleges that Emmanuel Nwanze and Holly Thompson used the Instagram account @holly_fxtrends to provide advice on buying and selling high-risk contracts for difference (CFDs) without proper authorization. The pair then paid seven influencers to promote the @holly_fxtrends account to their combined Instagram following of 4.5 million.

The influencers charged include:

  • Lauren Goodger (The Only Way is Essex)
  • Yazmin Oukhellou (The Only Way is Essex)
  • Biggs Chris (Love Island)
  • Jamie Clayton (Love Island)
  • Rebecca Gormley (Love Island)
  • Eva Zapico (Love Island)
  • Scott Timlin (Geordie Shore)

Each influencer faces one count of unauthorized communication of financial promotions. Nwanze also faces charges of unauthorized communications of financial promotions and running an unauthorized investment scheme. If convicted, they could face up to two years in prison.

The FCA’s action underscores the growing importance of social media in marketing strategies. In March, the FCA reminded financial services firms that they are responsible for ensuring that influencers they collaborate with communicate appropriately and legally with their followers.

This case highlights the regulatory risks associated with the burgeoning ‘finfluencer’ trend and the need for strict compliance with financial promotion regulations.