Some of the sharper advertising practices by UK financial services firms -- including unit trusts and open-ended investment companies -- will be sharply curtailed by the Financial Services Authority as of June 1 2004.

In the main such practices involve cherry-picking of data to cast the rosiest possible hue on past performance. But in future the FSA is to impose far more stringent requirements on investment ads.

Past-performance data, if used, must be accompanied by a table showing the annual returns on a fund for each year across the preceding sixty months.

The data will also have to include percentages so as to convey to consumers a better understanding of the volatility of an investment and its performance over a longer term.

Furthermore, data relating to any period less than twelve months will be inadmissible.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff