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 8:30 pm on 18th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Stamford Lord Davies of Stamford Labour 8:30 pm, 18th February 2019

I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for giving way. She just said something that alarms me greatly, which is that there will now be two forms of IFRS, one for the EU and the other for the UK. That seems to be a matter of enormous significance, and extremely undesirable. It means that you will not be able to make exact comparisons between potential investments in the UK and the rest of the EU.

Let us suppose you are doing a study of the pharmaceutical industry and you find that, in earnings per share, Glaxo or AstraZeneca has been progressing at a certain rate over the years, and German equivalents such as Bayer have different figures for growth of earnings per share. You are making comparisons, but the comparisons are falsified because of the different accounting conventions. Some of them might be very substantial. For example, if you change the conventions on amortisation of good will, that can be a very substantial figure in a balance sheet in a profit and loss account; it has a bearing on how you account for it. This is very serious, because it would be a serious reduction in the transparency of the financial markets, which would be of great disadvantage to individual investors, of course, but ultimately to firms themselves, and their ability to raise money, and to the health of the financial markets, which we all depend on.