The pressure is mounting for greater regulation of financial
communications. Last week’s warning shot from the Takeover Panel, is now
followed by the news that the IPR City and Financial Group is to
investigate this area. This is a step in the right direction but we have
been here before, several times.
Offences of this nature are in fact rare in financial PR. Brokers,
bankers and clients are as likely to find themselves in breach of the
rules - inadvertently or otherwise. But we have repeatedly argued that
the current situation is intolerable for financial PR practitioners. The
rules are not clear enough, and the current policy of singling out the
occasional offender for ritual sacrifice is therefore iniquitous.
The PR industry bodies do not have enough members, or sharp enough
teeth, to make self-regulation work by themselves. It requires a clear
code of practice, policed by a joint commission comprising PR
professionals and representatives of City bodies. Above all, there must
be a register of PR practitioners ‘licensed’ to practise financial
public relations. And the commission must have the power to withdraw
registration if necessary.
But this solution will only work if it has the backing of PR’s
professional bodies, the City authorities, and most important of all,