A service should be considered to be provided at the initiative of a client (see COBS 10.4.1 R (1)(a)1) unless the client demands it in response to a personalised communication from or on behalf of the firm to that particular client which contains an invitation or is intended to influence the client in respect of a specific financial instrument or specific transaction.
A service can be considered to be provided at the initiative of a client notwithstanding that the client demands it on the basis of any communication containing a promotion or offer of investments2 made by any means that by its very nature is general and addressed to the public or a larger group or category of clients.
Communications to the world at large, such as those in newspapers or on billboards, are likely to be by their very nature general and therefore not personalised communications.
A communication is not personalised solely because it contains the name and address of the client or because a mailing list has been filtered.
If a firm is satisfied that a communication does not contain any personalised content, it may wish to make clear that it does not intend the communication to be personalised and that the personal circumstances of the recipient have not been taken into account.