FCA uses ad tied to Dumb Money film to warn cinemagoers of investment risks

The Financial Conduct Authority is warning cinemagoers about the dangers of speculative investments driven by hype (Alamy/PA)
Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning cinemagoers about the dangers of speculative investments driven by hype.

The regulator has commissioned advertising linked to Dumb Money, a film featuring Paul Dano and Seth Rogen and profiling the GameStop saga.

It marks the first time the regulator has created a cinema ad tied to a specific film.

Just before the movie starts, viewers will see an advert which starts to talk about a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make some serious money”.

It is then revealed that the anonymous tipster is in fact typing in an online forum – before the advert ends with the FCA’s call to action: “Don’t Get Played”.

There will also be advertising in cinema foyers.

The drive is part of the FCA’s InvestSmart campaign, which encourages consumers to make better-informed investing decisions which suit their financial circumstances and attitude to risk.

In early 2021, US video game retailer GameStop was at the centre of a speculative frenzy between major professional investors and small-scale individual investors.

Hyped by tips on web-based message boards, individual investors bought large volumes of shares in a perceived “David versus Goliath” battle with professionals who expected the share price to fall.

With high volumes of shares changing hands, the share price fluctuated wildly, leaving some investors – big and small – out of pocket, the FCA said.

It said UK-based investors opened more than one million new trading app accounts during the first few months of 2021.

Emma Stranack, head of content and channels at the FCA, said: “The GameStop episode is a classic example of speculative investment driven by hype, and many investors suffered painful losses at the time.

“This new film gives us the perfect opportunity to encourage less experienced investors to understand the risks, avoid hype and do the necessary research before they invest.

“This is the first time we’ve created a cinema advert tied in with a specific film. The subject matter is directly aligned to our target audience’s interests and the cinema provides a unique environment to capture their attention.”