New Clause 27 - Money laundering offences: electronic money institutions, payment institutions and deposit-taking bodies

Part of Financial Services Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 13th January 2021.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 5:45 pm, 13th January 2021

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker; and I thank all Members who have tabled amendments and spoken to them today. The Bill deals with a number of important issues, and this has been reflected in the wide-ranging contributions that we have heard today and over the last couple of months at various stages. I will take this opportunity to add to my earlier remarks and respond to some of the points raised in the contributions this afternoon.

On economic crime, I have already set out a number of actions that the Government have taken. On the specific issue of whether corporate criminal liability law should be reformed, the Law Commission is undertaking an expert review and we should await its outcome, but I note the range of views expressed today. We have discussed amendments that would bring additional activities into FCA regulation, including “buy now, pay later” products. I have heard the points raised on this matter today, particularly by my hon. Friend Paul Maynard, who gave a sensible, thoughtful and constructive analysis, but I believe that it is right to wait for the Woolard review.

On the question of equivalence and divergence, I have said before that there are some areas where the UK will want to take a different approach from the EU to better suit the UK market, and some areas where we will not. I do not accept the characterisation of divergence. Regulatory regimes are not static—they evolve—and it is right that regulators should adapt to them. We have heard about the relationship between the regulators, the Treasury and Parliament. Again, I look forward to continuing these conversations through the future regulatory framework review, which will be ongoing in the coming weeks and months.

We have discussed several amendments that would require the regulators to have regard to different objectives when implementing the prudential regimes provided for in the Bill. It is right that the regulators set the detailed rules implementing these regimes, as they have the right technical expertise. That has long been a principle by which our regulators have worked over the past 20 years. These regimes are vital, but I do not believe that regulators should be required to have regard to broader questions that are not so closely related to prudential standards.

Several of today’s amendments relate to issues not included in the Bill. I emphasise to the House once again that the Bill is just one part of the wider long- term strategy for financial services that will ensure that the UK financial services industry continues to be a global leader.

As is traditional at this stage of the Bill’s passage, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have contributed to its development and scrutiny. In particular, I thank Mr McFadden and Abena Oppong-Asare on the Opposition Front Bench, as well as the hon. Members for Glasgow Central (Alison Thewliss) and for Aberdeen South (Stephen Flynn), for the care and attention that they have brought to scrutinising the Bill and the constructive way in which they have approached it. I thank the Public Bill Committee for its detailed engagement with the legislation, particularly the Chairs, my hon. Friend Philip Davies and Dr Huq.

The hon. Members for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy) and for Wallasey (Dame Angela Eagle) have provided thorough examination and important contributions on parts of the Bill, as has just been seen, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Wallasey on the recognition of her services to Parliament over nearly 29 years in the new year honours list. On this side of the House, my hon. Friends the Members for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron), for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) and for Hitchin and Harpenden (Bim Afolami), and others, have provided characteristically thorough and thoughtful contributions.

I am grateful to the many experts who gave evidence to the Committee, and I thank the Commons staff and Clerks, Kevin and Nick, who have managed the process so smoothly. Not least, I thank the Treasury officials, Alex Patel, Liz Cronin, Fred Newman, Catherine McCloskey and Tim Garbutt. I hope the House has found my—