COMMENT: EDITORIAL; Time to protect financial PR,

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.

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,

clients.



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