Wannabe A Great Financial Copywriter?

This has to be the hypothetical question of the year – and it’s still only January as I write! Can you name even ONE ‘big’ financial copywriter? Even more to the point – most people would struggle to come up with more than a couple of copywriters who are specialists in the financial field. Financial copywriting is a fairly esoteric pastime. To be esteemed by your peers would give you little more than a footnote in the copywriters’ history of the 21st century. You’d be akin to a 12th century monk, transcribing the ancient gospels for posterity. And yet financial affairs rule the world – and they probably always did. The difference is that today we have ‘financial services’. And these have to be marketed, the better to make a fat profit. In that respect, financial copywriting is no different to any other present-day commercial activity. It is of course an essential link in the selling process. On a global scale, that means there are plenty of people involved in writing financial copy for financial gain. So why shouldn’t there be some kind of hierarchy in this obscure skill? Is it because ‘financial copywriting’ is an umbrella term that takes in the whole gamut of marketing tools from websites to sales letters to social media and advertising? The circle is particularly hard to square because the financial world is like no other. It requires a certain ‘insider knowledge’ of economics, the mechanics of business and how money makes the world go round. Try to compare finance with any other sector – retail, automotive, recruitment, property and so on –... Read more...

Financial Marketing and the Moral Compass

The issue of whether marketing professionals should work with clients in controversial areas of business is certainly not new.  Alcohol, tobacco, gambling and pornography have fitted the ‘usual suspects’ bill for long enough. Increasingly, however, in the wake of the recent financial meltdown across Europe, we’re seeing a new contender in the unpopularity stakes.  You’ve probably noticed a new breed of financial services company that’s emerged recently in the UK – and they don’t enjoy a very good press. Yes, we’re talking about online companies that charge thumping rates of interest for the privilege of borrowing relatively small amounts of cash for just a few weeks or months.  They’ve even devised innocuous-sounding names for their services such as Payday Loans or Logbook Loans. The fact is, these are serious money-making machines that many people feel are on the very edge of what is acceptable in lending to vulnerable people at annual percentage interest rates (APRs) that can run as high as 4,000 per cent or more. The mainstream lenders have ‘done a runner’ and what little lending they do is often on a ‘fair weather friend’ basis.  In other words, they’ll only lend you an umbrella when the sun is shining. On this basis, it’s true that the ‘new lenders’ are performing a public service, but where else can the public go when their finances are tight, maybe someone in the family has lost his job, and they’re confronted with a financial emergency such as a broken TV or washing machine, dental bills or a leaking roof.   Is it ethical business? One of the ethical dilemmas that surround... Read more...

The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Lending

Sub-prime money lending in the UK is alive and well.  Demand for Payday Loans, Logbook Loans and Guarantor Loans is soaring.  And with the country’s recessionary phase now into its fourth year, these high-interest short-term loans that were previously only popular with the sub-prime sector are now being taken up by so-called ‘Middle England’. In many cases, this group of newly-stretched individuals is also resorting to more ‘respectable’ sources of personal credit such as P2P Lending (aka Peer-to-Peer or Person-To-Person Lending), pawnbrokers and pre-paid credit cards.  For the more prudent, there are always old standbys such as Credit Unions. What’s going on in our economy that’s driving so many people into the arms of ridiculously expensive lenders and online opportunists who are charging outrageously high interest rates of up to 4,000 per cent APR in the case of Payday Loans? Let’s take a closer look at the type of credit we’re talking about: Payday Loans The bête noir of the sub-prime stable, these online loans are surrounded by controversy, largely on account of their sky-high annual interest rates (APR). Although Payday Loan companies were originally given a green-light by the Office of Fair Trading, a rash of recent complaints about their aggressive chasing of defaulters has led to closer scrutiny of vetting procedures and in some cases the withdrawal of their licences to trade.  Logbook Loans On the face of it, a short-term loan using your car as security seems like an OK kind of idea. You hand over your V5 Registration Document (formerly known as a ‘log book’) for the duration of your loan.  When you’ve paid it... Read more...