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You are viewing the version of the document as on 2023-12-01.

COBS 2.5 Optional additional products

Restriction on marketing or providing an optional product for which a fee is payable

  1. (1)

    1A firm must not enter into an agreement with a client under which a charge is, or may become, payable for an optional additional product unless the client has actively elected to obtain that specific product.

  2. (2)

    A firm must not impose a charge on a client for an optional additional product under an agreement entered into on or after 1 April 2016 unless the client has actively elected to obtain that specific product before becoming bound to pay the charge.

  3. (3)

    A firm must not invite or induce a client to obtain an optional additional product for which a charge will be, or may become, payable if the firm knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that:

    1. (a)

      a contravention of (1) or (2) will take place with respect to the product; or

    2. (b)

      the person supplying the optional additional product will act in a way that would contravene (1) or (2) if that person were a firm.

  4. (4)

    An omission by a client is not to be regarded as an active election for the purposes of this rule.

  5. (5)

    It is immaterial for the purposes of (3) whether or not the firm would or might be a party to the agreement for the optional additional product.

  6. (6)

    A charge includes a financial consideration of any kind, whether payable to the firm or any other person.

  7. (7)

    An optional additional product is a good, service or right of any description, whether or not financial in nature, that a client may obtain (or not, as the case may be) at his or her election in connection with, or alongside, a designated investment.

  8. (8)

    If the client is required to obtain the additional product as a condition of the transaction related to the designated investment, then that product is an optional additional product if the client is given a choice:

    1. (a)

      as to the seller or supplier of that product; or

    2. (b)

      which specific product to obtain.

  9. (9)

    It is immaterial for the purposes of (7) and (8) whether the optional additional product is obtained from the firm or another person.

  10. (10)
    1. (a)

      If, under the terms and conditions of an optional additional product, there is to be an automatic renewal of the agreement on substantially the same terms, it suffices for the purposes of (1) to (3) if the client actively elected before entering into the initial agreement or a preceding renewal to obtain the product.

    2. (b)

      An automatic renewal of the agreement is not to be regarded as being on substantially the same terms if, following the renewal, a charge will or may become payable for the optional additional product for the first time (in which case, (1) to (3) apply at the time of the renewal).

    3. (c)

      Except as set out in (b), changes in the level of charges for an optional additional product are to be disregarded in determining whether an automatic renewal of an agreement is on substantially the same terms.

  11. (11)

    A client may make an active election for the purposes of this rule through an intermediary in the sales process and through a person acting on behalf of the firm.


An example of an omission by a client which is not to be regarded as an active election is the failure by the client to change a default option such as a pre-ticked box on a website.


Firms are reminded that a similar prohibition on opt-out selling of add-on products is imposed by The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 in relation to optional additional agreements where the main sale is not a financial service or product.


Firms are reminded that they must ensure that their appointed representatives comply with this section COBS 2.5.