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What can advisers expect from the Queen's Speech?

What can advisers expect from the Queen's Speech?
 

The Queen’s Speech will be delivered tomorrow (May 10) when the government will set out its priorities for the months ahead, with the industry hoping to see online scams, financial services bill, and levelling up commitments make an appearance.

The Queen's Speech marks the state opening of parliament and outlines the programme of legislation the government intends to progress during the new parliamentary session. 

Here’s what advisers and providers might expect from tomorrow’s speech:

Online Safety Bill

In March, a bill aiming to protect internet users from scams and hold tech giants to account came one step closer to becoming law after being introduced to parliament.

The online safety bill was read in the House of Commons on March 17, nearly a year after the first draft was published.

It requires social media platforms, search engines and other apps and websites to protect children and tackle illegal activity, all while maintaining freedom of speech.

Ofcom, the industry regulator, will also be given the power to fine companies up to 10 per cent of their annual global turnover if they do not comply with the laws. 

The bill has been updated a number of times since the first draft was published in May 2021.

Changes include bringing paid-for scam adverts on social media and search engines into scope, after intense pressure from a coalition of consumer groups, charities and financial services industry bodies.

Quilter’s chief risk officer Matt Burton, said: “Having been introduced last year to protect people from online fraudulent investment propositions, the online safety bill will be carried over to this year’s Queen’s Speech after a number of amendments.

“Reports suggest risk of a rebellion over the kinds of posts social media companies will be required to take action on, warning of censorship if there is not clarification. 

“However it is no exaggeration to say that customers of financial services have faced a fraud epidemic, with very few protections in place to stop harmful content from appearing online and that must be clamped down on sooner rather than later.”

Burton argued that for far too long, the onus has been on diligent individuals and financial services providers to identify scam adverts and report them to search engines, the regulator and the police instead of the search engines undertaking basic due diligence to filter out fraudulent adverts in the first place. 

“This bill is the perfect opportunity to require search engines and social media platforms to remove sham investment and impersonation scams promptly from their sites, and conduct the necessary due diligence to stop them from appearing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Aegon’s head of pensions Kate Smith, said there may be a few surprises but one thing for sure that will feature is the online safety bill for a second year.

“Bills are normally expected to take under a year to go through the process to coincide with parliamentary sessions but a considerable amount of scrutiny and amendments have caused delays.” she said.