France Takes Steps to Regulate Financial Influencers with the Responsible Influence Certificate

In a response to the growing scrutiny on “finlfluencers” who promote investment products through their online platforms, France is moving towards comprehensive regulation by introducing the Responsible Influence Certificate. This certificate, while not mandatory, marks a significant step in the oversight of financial influencers.

On September 7, 2023, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) announced a collaborative effort to establish a specialized training program for financial sector influencers.

France Setting Up Regulations in the World of Financial Influencers and Cryptocurrency

The “Responsible Influence Certificate” was initially introduced by the ARPP in 2021 and has since been obtained by over 1,000 French influencers. Now, it will include a dedicated course tailored to financial influencers who promote equities, bonds, ETFs, funds, derivatives, and even wine, along with a mention of crypto-assets.

To earn the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising, individuals must achieve a minimum score of 75% by answering 25 multiple-choice questions. While this certificate isn’t legally mandatory, non-compliant influencers risk having it revoked by the ARPP. Furthermore, obtaining this certificate requires influencers to first acquire the “general Certificate,” a prerequisite developed by the ARPP for all influencers.

In a separate development in May 2023, the French Senate passed an amendment permitting registered cryptocurrency companies to engage social media influencers for advertising and promotional purposes. This move contrasts with the United Kingdom, where regulators warn influencers of potential criminal consequences, including up to two years in jail, unlimited fines, or both, for their crypto promotions. Meanwhile, the European Consumer Organisation is actively advocating for a complete ban on crypto advertising by influencers.