ASA Adjudication on National Savings and Investments
National Savings and Investments t/a
1 Drummond Gate
25 July 2012
Number of complaints:
CST THE GATE LIMITED
A radio ad for National Savings and Investments stated "Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Always changing, always the same. Just like NS&I. For over 150 years we've always been changing to meet our customers' needs. For instance, you can now always manage your savings online, 24 hours a day. And. NS&I has always guaranteed 100% security for your savings. NS&I. Always changing. Always the same. So visit NS&I.com".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "And NS&I has always guaranteed 100% security for your savings" was misleading and could be substantiated.
National Savings and Investments t/a NS&I (NS&I) stated that the claim on the radio ad that they were 100% secure referred to the fact that they would always be able to repay a customer's investment in full without any interest no matter how much that customer had invested because, unlike other commercial banks and financial service providers, they were not limited to the guarantee offered by the Financial Service Compensation Scheme (FSCS) but were backed by HM Treasury. They stated that NS&I were an agency of HM Treasury which was part of the UK Government. They said the UK Government had historically never defaulted on a loan payment and had always held their triple ‘A’ rating. They further explained that the UK Government would also continue to have tax raising powers, and their products were therefore 100% secure.
The RACC said they supported NS&I's response and that because it was an executive agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, every penny invested with NS&I was backed by HM Treasury. They said that because there was no upper limit on how much was guaranteed, the term "100% security" was valid in this context.
The ASA considered that most listeners were familiar with NS&I and would understand from the security of savings claim that invested money would be returned without loss. Because NS&I was backed by HM Treasury and, unlike banks, its customers were not at risk of loss from the global economic crisis, we concluded that the claim that NS&I provided "100% security" for savings was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 3.10 (Qualification) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.