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ICOB 3.3 Application: what?

What do "communicate" and "non-investment financial promotion" mean?

ICOB 3.3.1 G

The rules in this chapter adopt various concepts from the restriction on financial promotion by unauthorised persons in section 21(1) of the Act (Restrictions on financial promotion). Guidance on that restriction is contained in AUTH App 1 (Financial promotion and related activities) and that guidance will be relevant to interpreting these rules. In particular, guidance on the meaning of:

  1. (1)

    "communicate" is in AUTH App 1.6 (Communicate);

  2. (2)

    "invitation or inducement" and "engage in investment activity" (two elements which, with "communicate", make up the definition of "financial promotion") are in AUTH App 1.4 (Invitation and inducement) and AUTH App 1.7 (Engage in investment activity).

Definition of "non-investment financial promotion".

ICOB 3.3.2 G

The rules in this chapter apply to non-investment financial promotions only. These are financial promotions which relate to non-investment insurance contracts. A non-investment financial promotion is, by definition, not a real time financial promotion.

Media of communication

ICOB 3.3.3 G
  1. (1)

    There is no restriction on the media of communication to which this chapter applies. It applies to a non-investment financial promotion communicated by any means, including by way of printed advertising, radio and television broadcast, e-mail, the Internet and electronic media such as digital and other forms of interactive television and media. Both solicited and unsolicited communications are covered.

  2. (2)

    Financial promotions may be communicated, for example, by means of:

    1. (a)

      product brochures;

    2. (b)

      general advertising in magazines, newspapers, radio and television programmes and websites;

    3. (c)

      mailshots (whether distributed by post, fax, e-mail or other media);

    4. (d)

      written correspondence;

    5. (e)

      sales aids which themselves constitute a financial promotion; and

    6. (f)

      other publications, which may contain non-personal recommendations as to the acquisition, retention or disposal of non-investment insurance contracts.

ICOB 3.3.4 G

Guidance on the use of the Internet for communicating non-investment financial promotions is in ICOB 3.9 (The Internet and other electronic media) and AUTH App 1.22 (The Internet).


ICOB 3.3.5 R

This chapter does not apply to a firm in relation to a non-investment financial promotion of a kind listed in ICOB 3.3.6 R.

ICOB 3.3.6 R


This table belongs to ICOB 3.3.5 R.


This chapter does not apply to the following:


a non-investment financial promotion to a commercial customer, that is a non-investment financial promotion which:


is made only to recipients who the firm has taken reasonable steps to establish are commercial customers; or


may reasonably be regarded as directed only at recipients who are commercial customers;


a non-investment financial promotion which can lawfully be communicated by an unauthorised communicator without approval;


a non-investment financial promotion communicated from outside the United Kingdom which would be exempt under articles 30, 31, 32 or 33 of the Financial Promotion Order (Overseas communicators) if the office from which the non-investment financial promotion is communicated were a separate unauthorised person (but see ICOB 4.2.19 R) (Overseas business for UK retail customers) and GEN 4.4 (Business for private customersfrom non-UK offices);


a "one-off"non-investment financial promotion: if the conditions set out in (a) to (c) are satisfied, a non-investment financial promotion is to be regarded as "one-off"; if not, the fact that any one or more of these conditions is met is to be taken into account in determining if a non-investment financial promotion is "one-off", but a non-investment financial promotion may be regarded as "one-off" even if none of the conditions are met. The conditions are that:


the non-investment financial promotion is communicated only to one recipient or only to one group of recipients in the expectation that they would engage in any investment activity jointly;


the identity of the contract or service to which the non-investment financial promotion relates has been determined having regard to the particular circumstances of the recipient ;


the non-investment financial promotion is not part of an organised marketing campaign;


a non-investment financial promotion which contains only one or more of the following:


the name of the firm (or its appointed representative);


the name of the non-investment insurance contract;


a logo;


a contact point (address (including an e-mail address), telephone or fax number);


a brief, factual description of the firm's (or its appointed representative's) activities;


a brief, factual description of the firm's (or its appointed representative's fees;


a brief, factual description of the firm's products.

Combination of exemptions

ICOB 3.3.7 R

A firm may rely on more than one exemption (and also on ICOB 3.4.1 R (Territorial scope)) in relation to the same non-investment financial promotion.

Guidance on the exemptions

ICOB 3.3.8 G
  1. (1)

    Under ICOB 3.3.6 R(1), a non-investment financial promotion which is communicated only to a commercial customer is exempt. See ICOB 3.6.3 R and ICOB 3.6.4 R which amplify this exemption. A firm will need to take particular note of the conditions in ICOB 3.6.4 R when designing non-investment financial promotions for trade publications that may also be available to a retail customer.

  2. (2)

    ICOB 3.3.6 R(4) reflects the exemption in article 28 of the Financial Promotion Order (one-off non-real time communications and solicited real time communications) but goes further, exempting all such non-investment financial promotions. It exempts, among other things, correspondence which is specifically written for a recipient, whether hard copy or e-mail. A firm should note, however, that such correspondence will, if personal recommendations are made, be subject to other obligations such as ICOB 4.3 and ICOB 4.4. It does not exempt non-investment financial promotionscommunicated in the form of mass mailshots, which may appear to be items of personalised correspondence but which in fact comprise the same, or virtually the same, material sent to a number of recipients, without tailoring the material to the circumstances of each recipient. Such mailshots must meet the requirements of ICOB 3. AUTH App 1.14.3 G (One-off financial promotions (articles 28 and 28A)) provides further guidance on the scope of the exemption in article 28.

  3. (3)

    ICOB 3.3.6 R(5)(e), (f ) and (g) exempt a non-investment financial promotion made by a firm which refers only to its activities in general terms in image advertising. Acceptable examples include 'general insurance' or 'life and general insurance business'. In addition a firm or its appointed representative may include its name, address and telephone number in accordance with ICOB 3.3.6 R(5)(a) and (d). AUTH App 1.4.20 G (Image advertising) provides guidance on when image advertising may involve a financial promotion.

  4. (4)

    A non-investment financial promotion included in a newspaper, magazine or periodical which is printed and published overseas, but which may be brought into the United Kingdom and made available to persons in the United Kingdom, will be exempt provided that the non-investment financial promotion is not communicated to persons inside the United Kingdom (see ICOB 3.4 and AUTH App 1.12.2 G (Financial promotions to overseas recipients (article 12)).

Other Handbook rules relevant to financial promotions

ICOB 3.3.9 G
  1. (1)

    A firm is reminded that non-investment financial promotions (including those which are exempt) may be subject to more general rules including Principle 7 (Communications with clients), SYSC 3 (Systems and controls) ICOB 2.2.3 R (Clear, fair and not misleading communication) and ICOB 5 (Product disclosure).

  2. (2)

    A firm is reminded that, although ICOB 3 makes no specific rules relating to the content of a non-investment financial promotion, the disclosure requirements in ICOB 4 and ICOB 5 may apply.

  3. (3)

    A firm is reminded that if, in the course of making a non-investment financial promotion of any kind, it gives a personal recommendation to a customer about the suitability of a non-investment insurance contract for that individual, the firm is subject to the relevant rules on advising and selling in ICOB 4 (Advising and selling standards).