Unit Trusts

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22 January 1959.

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Mr. Gresham Cooke:

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consult the representatives of unit t rusts with a view to making amendments 1o the law favourable to the growth of the unit trust movement.

Photo of Mr John Hynd Mr John Hynd , Sheffield, Attercliffe

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the rapid growth in the size and number of unit trusts; and whether he is satisfied that sufficient safeguards surround the operation of such trusts in the interests of the small investor.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I am ready to consider any recommendation, either from unit trusts or from the public, for the improvement of legislation in this field. Existing legislation appears to me to afford adequate safeguards. These cover many aspects, including the calculation of the price of units, management charges, the wording of advertisements, the audit of accounts and their circulation to unit holders.

Mr. Gresham Cooke:

As unit trusts appear to be becoming a very large part of our economy, as the legislation under which they operate is about twenty years old, and as there are difficulties over repurchase prices and management charges and so on, would my right hon. Friend consider sympathetically the suggestion that he should take the initiative in considering some legislation?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

If those concerned will talk to me about them I will consider it. I looked at the legislation, and I thought that it was a good piece of work.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

If there is to be legislation, will the right hon. Gentleman be sure not to overlook the possibility of improving the safeguards for the investor?

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Essex South East

Is my right hon. Friend aware that most unit trusts would be in favour of tightening up Board of Trade regulations in this connection in order to provide adequate security for the small investors, in particular in regard to the repurchase of units?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

After this ventilation of the matter in the House, if unit trusts wish to have the legislation amended I am sure that they will make representations.

Later—

Photo of Mr John Hynd Mr John Hynd , Sheffield, Attercliffe

On a point of order. I have not had an opportunity of asking my Question No. 41.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The hon. Member's Question was answered with Question No. 30, when he was not in the Chamber.

Photo of Mr John Hynd Mr John Hynd , Sheffield, Attercliffe

I understood that Ministers answered Questions together with permission. As my Question has a quite different implication from that of Question No. 30, and my permission for them to be answered together was not sought, was it in order for the Minister to answer those Questions together.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

If the hon. Member had been here and had wished to object to the form of the answer he could have done so.