Equitable Life

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th January 2001.

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Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Economic Secretary, HM Treasury 12:00 am, 25th January 2001

The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 provides a model for the best standards of regulation in the world. As I am sure my hon. Friend is aware, one regulator will replace the current nine regulators. The Act gives the FSA clear statutory responsibilities, including objectives for market confidence, consumer awareness, the protection of consumers and the prevention of financial crime.

It is important that we recognise that the FSA's report will cover both the FSA's role as prudential regulator and the Personal Investment Authority's role. Its terms of reference include the background and events leading up to the FSA's assumption of responsibility for the prudential regulation of Equitable Life on 1 January 1999—[Interruption.] I am sure that on such an important matter, Opposition Members would like an accurate description of what is happening.

The report will describe the course of the supervisory work from then until the society's closure to new business on 8 December 2000, and it will indeed identify, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Miss Begg) has requested, any lessons to be learned.