In the FCA's view, advice requires an element of opinion on the part of the adviser. In effect, it is a recommendation as to a course of action. Information, on the other hand, involves statements of fact or figures.
Information may often involve:
company news or announcements; or
an explanation of the terms and conditions of an investment; or
a comparison of the benefits and risks of one investment as compared to another; or
league tables showing the performance of investments of a particular kind against set published criteria; or
details of directors’ dealings in the shares of their own companies; or
alerting persons to the happening of certain events (for example, XYZ shares reaching a certain price).
In the FCA's opinion, however, such information may take on the nature of advice if the circumstances in which it is provided give it the force of a recommendation. For example:
a person may offer to provide information on directors’ dealings on the basis that, in his opinion, were directors to buy or sell investors would do well to follow suit;
a person may offer to tell a client when certain shares reach a certain value (which would be advice if the person providing the information has offered to do so on the basis that the price of the shares means that it is a good time to buy or sell them); and
a person may provide information on a selected, rather than balanced, basis which would tend to influence the decision of the recipient.