Insurance giant Axa Sun Life has received a severe rap on the knuckles for misleading commercials on British TV.

The company, part of the French Axa insurance group, has been fined a record £500,000 (€720k, $963k) by UK watchdog, the Financial Services Authority.

The FSA says Axa's commercials - fronted by two well known female TV personalities - for an over-50s investment plan, concentrated on benefits without sufficient attention to possible risks and included inaccurate comparative data.

Says FSA enforcerAndrew Procter: "If a firm's financial promotions fail to meet our requirement to be fair, clear and not misleading, and the firm fails to treat its customers fairly, we will not hesitate to act."

The regulator warns companies it will be tough on ads which selectively quote or cherry-pick performance figures to sell their wares.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff