Money Market Funds (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:43 pm on 25th February 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Kramer Baroness Kramer Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Treasury and Economy) 3:43 pm, 25th February 2019

My Lords, like my colleagues on these Benches, I support this statutory instrument. It is necessary: to put it in technical terms, British investors in money market funds would be in a right pickle if we did not pass it, because, as the Minister has said, the domestic market is tiny.

However, I want to raise an issue which is repeated in many of the other statutory instruments before us. Paragraph 2.8 of the Explanatory Memorandum states:

“When the UK is no longer a member of the EU single market for financial services, it would not be appropriate for UK authorities to be obliged to share information or cooperate with the EU on a unilateral basis, with no guarantee of reciprocity”.

I understand the emotional tag behind all this, but there is a wise old saying which goes: “An eye for an eye and we all go blind”. The 2008 financial crash and many of the other problems that we have had have come through fragmentation of regulation and the lack of information transfer between regulators in different locations and countries. I really do not understand why we are not seeking to do everything in our power to make sure that information flows continue. A money market fund that is being regulated by the FCA under the new statute following any kind of no deal might well be in the same family as other such funds being marketed in the EU 27. Therefore, something that flags up an issue or concern with one may well reflect through to the other, because it could be core to the administration and deep within the overarching family. Will the Minister explain the consequences of putting up any kind of barrier to existing information transfer and what risks we might be taking on? I am exceedingly concerned about fragmentation.