Committee (8th Day)

Part of Financial Services Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 17th October 2012.

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Photo of Lord Flight Lord Flight Conservative 5:30 pm, 17th October 2012

My Lords, as everyone will be aware, Clause 62 concerns the MoUs among the Treasury, the Bank of England, the FCA and the PRA and how they intend to co-ordinate their respective functions as they relate to their relations with the various European supervisory authorities, the EU itself and other international organisations. It is perhaps implicit that in order to handle such relations effectively, they should naturally consult the industry and even consumers. However, Clause 62 does not prescribe that that should be the case. As this legislation is generally fully prescriptive, it certainly seems to me that it is at least worth discussing that in arriving at the MoUs there should be consultation. My amendment simply requires that provision is made for the UK authorities to consult thus.

I also make the wider point that there has almost been a sort of global excess regulatory reaction to the banking crisis. We have the ESMA at a European level; we have the European Banking Authority, which, under the present EU proposals, would have powers to have the last say with regard to banking regulation in this country; and we have international regulatory authorities. All of those bodies effectively are saying what should be done without very much accountability. Therefore, at least to avoid mistakes, it is important for the UK entities to have consulted very fully with the relevant parts of the financial services industry. I pay tribute to the fact that in the main that has happened in practice and that by and large the UK representatives in Brussels seem to have done a pretty good job of looking after UK interests. Nevertheless, as prescriptive legislation is the fashion of the day, I think that there is a strong case for this Bill to prescribe for such consultation.