Written by Jad Soubra

The Queen’s Speech, delivered on 10 May 2022, set out the government’s priorities for the next parliamentary session and included developments that will be of interest to those within the financial services sector. The noteworthy developments were the announcement of the Financial Services and Markets Bill and the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill.

The key developments to be introduced by the Financial Services and Markets Bill, intended to “enhance the UK’s position as a global leader in financial services”, are:

  • A revocation of retained EU law on financial services and replacing it with regulation designed or the UK market;
  • An update to the financial regulators’ objectives to ensure greater focus on growth and international competitiveness;
  • Reform to the rules regulating the UK’s capital markets in order to promote investment;
  • Securing easy access to cash for those across the UK; and
  • Bolstering protections offered to those investing or using financial products to improve safety and support scam victims.

In a policy paper published alongside the Queen’s Speech, the Government revealed one of the proposed protections for scam victims would be to equip the Payment Systems Regulator with new powers to require banks, when using certain payment systems, to reimburse victims of authorised push payment (APP) fraud. This measure is intended to tackle to disparities that have arisen due to the inconsistent application of the APP Scams Voluntary Industry Code established in May 2019.

Separately, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill is set to strengthen powers for tackling illicit finance, reduce crime such as money laundering and fraud, and enable firms in the financial sector to more freely share information to prevent and detect economic crime.

Whilst there was no mention of a new Pensions Bill or the anticipated changes to auto-enrolment during the Queen’s Speech, pension providers should take note of the announced proposals – particularly those around scams. The bolstered protections to be brought in by the Financial Services and Markets Bill as well as the Online Safety Bill, which will include measures such as requiring large social media platforms and search engines to prevent the hosting or publication of fraudulent paid-for-advertising, will be critical in tackling the rise in pension scams.