eb and internet concept with social media and social network signs and words

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has charged nine so-called finfluencers for allegedly promoting an unregistered foreign-exchange trading scheme on their Instagram accounts.

The regulator alleged that two of the influencers, Emmanuel Nwanze and Holly Thompson, provided advice on buying and selling contracts for difference on foreign currencies through an Instagram account, without being registered, and that Nwanze paid seven other influencers to promote the account to their combined four-and-a-half million followers.

Nwanze was charged with running an unauthorized investment scheme and issuing unauthorized financial promotions. Thompson and the seven finfluencers have each been charged with one count of issuing unauthorized communications of financial promotions.

Earlier this year, the FCA adopted new guidance on finfluencers and the use of social media to promote financial products and services, which the regulator introduced in response to “emerging consumer harm” that it observed arising from the growing use of social media to tout financial promotions.

“We want firms to ensure that promotions provide a balanced view of the benefits and risks, and clearly communicate information that will help consumers make effective, well-informed decisions,” the FCA said at the time. Finfluencers who promote regulated products or services without the approval of a registered person may be committing a criminal offence, it said.

The allegations in the charges announced today have not been proven.

The defendants are scheduled to appear in court on June 13.