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FCA Publication: FCA keeps trading apps under review over gaming concerns


The FCA conducted an online experiment with over 9,000 consumers through an experimental trading app platform created by the regulator.  

The FCA undertook this experiment to test the effect of different digital engagement practices (DEPs) used by trading apps on trading behaviour. Examples of DEPs tested within the platform were push notifications and prize draws. Through its investigations, the FCA found evidence that DEPs can have a larger impact on certain subgroups, including those with low financial literacy, women, and younger participants (18–34-year-olds).  

The FCA’s Consumer Duty obliges trading apps to ensure their services are designed and tested to meet consumers’ needs, and to allow them to make effective, timely, and properly informed investment decisions. The Consumer Duty also expects trading apps to take into account those with characteristics of vulnerability.  

Sheldon Mills, Executive Director of Consumers and Competition at the FCA, advised “Trading apps have the potential to transform retail investments, but some in-app features might be pushing consumers towards more frequent or riskier trading, which isn’t right for everyone. With usage and popularity of trading apps growing, we’ll be keeping them under review to make sure customers can make investment decisions that suit their needs.” 

This is an area of interest for the FCA currently, and the regulator is investing time and resource, through its InvestSmart campaign, into educating consumers about making better investment decisions, as well as increasing their understanding of the opportunities and risks involved.  

Thistle’s in-house experts are able to help your firm ensure its digital engagement practices meet regulatory requirements, and we are able to support your firm on a wider scale regarding your client communications through reviews of communications with customers and your financial promotions, as well as ensuring your firm’s relevant policies and procedures are regulatory compliant.