Official Listing of Securities, Prospectus and Transparency (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 18th February 2019.

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Photo of The Earl of Kinnoull The Earl of Kinnoull Crossbench 8:15 pm, 18th February 2019

My Lords, I rise to put the case for poor old business because once again it is the Government who are being blamed. This SI is about access to capital. Without good access to capital, business is constrained and we do not have the means to create the wealth that we need in our country. I have a lot of experience with prospectuses relating to both equity and debt and I am old enough to remember, and have produced prospectuses for, the 2003 prospectus directive. I have been invited, although I have not actually been, to many conferences to discuss the prospectus directive, the transparency directive and CARD—the consolidated admissions and reporting directive. This is very much in UK capital-raising mode. It is the devil that everyone knows, and these SIs grandfather through for British business a very important route to capital. It is not the only route but it is the listed route to capital here.

Here I want to say something very complimentary about the UK Listing Authority, which many noble Lords probably do not know. I have dealt with listing authorities in other countries as well, and the UK listing authority is exceptionally good. It is good at giving clear guidance and responding swiftly when it needs to give comments on a draft prospectus, and that is certainly not the case in some of the landlocked European places that are trying to snaffle our business. Again, it is of absolute importance that this SI goes through.

Turning briefly to the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, I think that of the various amendments that he has tabled today, this is very much the back marker, in that I do not think the case for it is nearly as strong. I note that the original policy note for this came out on 21 November last year and the draft SI surfaced on 12 December and was laid on 21 January. So this is the 89th day that this has been around, because the policy note was spot on that there have not been any changes. In fact, the appearance of the policy note produced a tremendous number of emails into my inbox from all sorts of the expensive lawyers that the noble Lord, Lord McNally, was talking about earlier—