The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said it is powerless to stop advertisements for investment scams appearing on the internet and would like the government to intervene.
Products that could be identified as scams are often advertised via internet search engines such as Google and others.
Outgoing chief executive of the FCA, Andrew Bailey, has previously told FTAdviserthat he would like internet search providers to take down scam adverts within 48 hours of being alerted to them.
But an FCA representative said: “The FCA has no power to direct Google to stop advertising online scams and frauds nor does any other agency. This is why we strongly believe this should be covered in the Online Harms Bill.”
The regulator stated that adverts for investments that might be scams often appear when individuals use search terms such as “high investment returns”.
The Online Harms Bill was included in the government’s Queen’s Speech in December. It is a joint initiative from the department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Home Office.
The bill will aim to “protect children and vulnerable adults from digital threats”.
An independent regulator will be appointed to monitor online companies' behaviour.
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