20 July 2021
Coalition of consumer groups, charities and industry bodies calls for inclusion of paid for online advertising in Online Safety Bill
A coalition of consumer groups, charities and financial services industry bodies, including Which? UK Finance, Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert, the Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (PIMFA), the Investment Association, the Association of British Insurers and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, among many others* is today (20 July 2021) renewing its call for the Government to include paid for online adverts within the scope of the Online Safety Bill ahead of it being presented for pre-legislative scrutiny.
It comes as research from Which?1 found that the growing shift towards everyday tasks being carried out online following the onset of the pandemic has led to a devastating surge in scams.
Action Fraud figures, in the year to April 2021, show that 413,553 instances of fraud were reported – an increase of a third (33%) on the previous 12 months. More than £2.3 billion was lost by victims as a result, causing huge financial and mental distress.
To date, the Government has indicated that online advertising will be dealt with through a separate review of advertising regulations which is only in its infancy.
“As a coalition of consumer groups, charities and industry bodies, our united view is that the Government’s current approach to tackling online fraud is flawed. It will likely lead to complex and muddled regulations, and far worse consumer outcomes than an Online Safety Bill with a comprehensive approach to online fraud.
“While we welcome the recent inclusion in the Bill of fraud carried out through user generated content and fake profiles on social media websites, there is still a long way to go. Failing to include online advertising in the Bill leaves too much room for criminals to exploit online systems.
“This view is backed by the FCA, Bank of England, City of London Police, Work and Pensions Committee and Treasury Committee, who have all commented that the scope of the Online Safety Bill should be expanded to include fraud carried out via online advertising.
“We do agree with the Government that the impact of these frauds is often devastating, not just financially but also emotionally. That’s why we urge ministers to reconsider their current plan, and make sure the Bill protects as many consumers as possible from the full extent of the devastation caused by scams.”
Notes to editors:
- Government response to the coalition’s call for financial harms to be included in the Online Safety Bill.
*Full list of 13 organisations that have signed the statement:
- Age UK
- The Association of British Insurers
- Carnegie UK Trust
- Innovate Finance
- The Investment Association
- Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
- Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA)
- B&CE Ltd, provider of the People’s Pension
- UK Finance
- Victim Support
About PIMFA – the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association
- PIMFA is the trade association for firms that provide investment management, investment services and advice to everyone from individuals and families to charities, pension funds, trusts and companies.
- The sector currently looks after £1.65 trillion in private savings and investments and employs over 63,000 people.
- PIMFA represents both full and associate member firms. Full members provide a range of financial solutions including financial advice, portfolio management, as well as investment and execution services. They assist everyone from individuals and families, to charities and pension funds, all the way to trusts and companies. Associate members provide professional services to the PIMFA community.
- PIMFA leads the debate on policy and regulatory recommendations to ensure that the UK remains a global centre of excellence in the wealth management, investment advice and financial planning arena. Our mission is to create an optimal operating environment so that its member firms can focus on delivering the best service to clients, providing responsible stewardship for their long-term savings and investments.
- PIMFA has made numerous recommendations to the FCA regarding the Future of Advice, the Future of Supervision, & the FSCS levy – read more.
- PIMFA was created in 2017 as the outcome of a merger between the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) and the Wealth Management Association (WMA) with a history as a trade association since 1991 – read more.
- Further information can be found at pimfa.co.uk
For further information on this release or other press matters please contact:
Matthew West, PIMFA PR Manager – MatthewW@pimfa.co.uk, +44 (0)20 7382 0376 / +44 (0) 7843 903258
Sheena Gillett, PIMFA Communications & PR Director – SheenaG@pimfa.co.uk / +44 (0)7979 493225