Companies Bill [HL]
Lord Sainsbury of Turville (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry; Labour)
My Lords, I shall respond to the two requests for reassurance from the noble Lord, Lord Razzall. First, I said at the end of my speech that we will give industry every opportunity to adopt a voluntary approach before we even consider producing regulations. That is absolutely clear. We will not impose a mandatory regime if industry comes up with an acceptable voluntary scheme.
I think that, in this case, we all agree what the objective is: we want to see more information about the exercise of institutions' voting rights. There is only one thing on which there seems to be any doubt. The noble Lord is arguing that the idea that there might be regulations in due course will totally turn industry off doing anything in this regard. I find that argument implausible and rather bizarre because it seems to me that the prospect of regulations would give industry every incentive to introduce a voluntary scheme. I think that the institutions will take a very sensible and mature view and get on with introducing further information about the exercise of their voting rights. In those circumstances, it seems to me that the prospect of regulation would be both a good incentive to the institutions and a sensible fallback if nothing happened. On that basis, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.