Financial Conduct Authority Redress Scheme

Part of Backbench Business – in the House of Commons at 2:47 pm on 4th December 2014.

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Photo of Mark Williams Mark Williams Liberal Democrat, Ceredigion 2:47 pm, 4th December 2014

My hon. Friend is right. It is about fairness and the implications of these policies. Whether the policies were sold independently or hidden in a loan agreement, the implication has been the same. They were sold by the same people and so should be included in any future review.

The redress scheme has excluded a large number of people. Even before we drill down and thoroughly examine the scheme, it is hugely significant that a large number of businesses fall outside it. The scope of the scheme is too narrow and restrictive. It does not deal with the reality of what has gone on, which means that, as it stands, it will not change or reform bank behaviour or properly compensate people.

The scheme sets out that the IRHP Review does not require customers to assess for themselves whether or not their sale was compliant.”

If, as the FCA insists, there is no requirement for disclosure, how can it ever be possible to tell whether the banks, in reaching a judgment, are relying on erroneous information, or, as I have frequently come across, deliberately not taking information into account?

If the review process is to be transparent and fair, why is the customer not given a chance to view the evidence that the bank puts forward in the review and, if they feel it to be necessary, to have the opportunity to comment on it? How does the FCA fail to see that there will always be suspicion and mistrust when the process is shrouded in secrecy, and customers are deprived of the opportunity to view the evidence submitted by the bank to the bank’s own review team?

We need to address the controversial matter of the offer of alternative products. As part of the redress, reviewers seem to be hellbent on suggesting that if my constituents had not taken out a particular type of hedging product, they would almost certainly have taken out something similar. Is it now really the case that providing customers with an alternative product as part of redress is actually a widely accepted or well-established principle?

Despite the brief and the impressive statistics, the FCA is still failing to address the issue of confidence; there remains a crisis of confidence in the banking industry. Many people, such as Mansel Beechey and my constituent in a related matter, David Grant of Llechryd, have deep misgivings about the industry, and this is not just a matter of justice; in communities such as mine, the small businesses that the Chancellor, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister have said are so important to our economic recovery need action and assistance. If we do not act, we will fail many of our constituents, and it will be to the detriment of us all in terms of both justice and the economy.