The Central Bank of Nigeria, in its recently revised consumer protection framework, has mandated financial service providers to comply with minimum standards in their advertising and promotional materials.

One of the requirements is that FSPs should not make reference to unaudited financial statements in their sales promotion.

Unaudited financial statements are financial reports that have not been examined and verified for accuracy and completeness by an external independent auditor.

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Other requirements include disclosing contact details and its regulatory authority; disclosing cost of products, including all fees and other associated charges; the nature and value of benefits, where an advertisement refers to, or is linked to other value-adding benefits and avoiding mentioning the names of or making comparisons with competitors.

CBN noted that “the content of advertisements shall be factual, unambiguous, not offensive,
misleading, deceptive, or likely to cause damage.

The document stated, “Promotional materials must not focus on benefits and downplay risks, unsolicited advertisements should be free for consumers.

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“The service providers must honour obligations in sales promotions as advertised and offered; not make opt-in for promotional materials a prerequisite for onboarding consumers to products.

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“They must stablish a process to periodically evaluate the competence and conduct of employees.

“The financial services industry has undergone significant transformation with evolving market trends, proliferation and widespread adoption of technology in the delivery of a broad range of financial products and services through digital channels.”

The apex bank said while these changes had provided enhanced consumer choices, convenience, and accessibility, they had also exposed consumers to new challenges and risks.

The apex bank added that the objective of the revised document is to promote a safe, trustworthy and consumer-friendly financial services environment by promoting transparency and disclosure through the provision of accurate and clear information to consumers on time.

It also serves to protect consumers from unethical and predatory practices that undermine confidence in the use of financial products and services, CBN noted.

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