New certificate program in France incorporates Cryptocurrency for "Finfluencers"

New certificate program in France incorporates Cryptocurrency for “Finfluencers”

With growing concerns over “finfluencers” promoting investment products on social media, France is taking proactive steps to regulate these influencers in the financial sector. On September 7, 2023, France’s Autorité des Marches Financiers (AMF) and Autorité de Regulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) announced an optional certification program for finfluencers called the “Responsible Influence Certificate.”

The Responsible Influence Certificate was first introduced in 2021, and over 1,000 French influencers have obtained it so far. The recent update establishes a specialized course within the program tailored to finfluencers, covering various financial products like cryptocurrencies, stocks, bonds, ETFs, funds, derivatives, and alternative investments such as wine.

To earn the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising, influencers must correctly answer at least 75% of 25 multiple-choice questions. While not legally required, the ARPP can revoke the certificate from influencers who fail to comply with guidelines. Influencers must first obtain the general Responsible Influence Certificate for all influencers before the financial advertising certificate.

In May 2023, France’s Senate approved an amendment allowing registered cryptocurrency companies to hire influencers for promotions, contrasting with the U.K. where regulators warn influencers that promotions could lead to up to two years imprisonment, unlimited fines, or both. The European Consumer Organisation advocates banning influencers from advertising cryptocurrencies altogether.

These measures aim to balance empowering finfluencers and protecting consumers. The Responsible Influence Certificate encourages responsible financial promotion as influencers shape public opinion and investment choices. Though optional, the certification helps address concerns over finfluencers while still allowing them to operate. Overall, France is taking a balanced approach to regulating finfluencers through optional certification and oversight.