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Financial Services (Miscellaneous) (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No. 3) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 1st October 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted Liberal Democrat 5:45 pm, 1st October 2019

My Lords, again, I declare my interests as listed in the register—in particular, as a director of London Stock Exchange plc.

I shall start where the Minister finished, in the sense that he said that there had been constructive engagement with stakeholders and industry. I acknowledge that that is true, and I also acknowledge that HMT has, by and large, done a very good job with the full range of statutory instruments, a great many of which some of us have had the pleasure of looking at. However, I have a comment to make on the others, and I say this because the Minister is relatively new to his post. Previously, once there was a final version, this was sent to those of us who were engaged on the SIs with a little more notice than we have had in this case—perhaps to look up a few things and occasionally even to find a few more mistakes than we have been able to this time.

I recognise that this is an unusual time, with our having been dragged back when perhaps the Government had not expected that—although that was obviously the right thing to do—but if any more SIs are lined up, can the Government try to give us a little more notice of the final versions? That would make things far smoother for us. We are rather large stakeholders but are not really being consulted until it is in the final form. We sometimes have only a couple of days to look at it. The Government are giving far more time to the people who do not have to make decisions than those who do. In general with secondary legislation, it is very important that this can be done with much more time at our disposal.

I do not have a great deal to say. I agree that, by and large, these are relatively small changes. It gives us a nice list of things that I need to go and look at in the Criminal Justice Act—it raises my curiosity about what regulated markets are defined elsewhere. Obviously, if it is a question of bad behaviour, we want to catch that globally, not just within the EEA. I assume that we have some definitions of regulated markets, such as in the United States and elsewhere. Maybe that can be answered for me, but I will have to go and have a look.

Something jumped out at me slightly in the amendments to MiFID, where it is being redefined to refer just to the UK systematic internalisers, rather than reading “EU systematic internalisers”. It says that that was previously a mistake and should have been localised to the UK. We have had several instances where things were deliberately UK-wide and EU-wide sometimes—the question was whether it would be a symmetric or asymmetric case. In some ways, this reflects back to the whole criminal justice thing: we are catching bad behaviour in the whole of the EEA and they presumably want to catch it in the UK, even if by an EU firm.

Was it previously a mistake that it covered the whole of the EU or has there been a slight change of policy from the UK’s perspective? Are we saying, “Okay, we are going to narrow this down so that you have to do it in the UK, rather than allowing you to do it in a wider range of locations”? I would like to know that. We have previously picked up on things and asked, “Why are you allowing these to be EU-wide?”. That is the only point I really have to make, other than repeating the fact that it would have been nice if the Explanatory Memorandum had been slightly updated.

Oh, yes—there was also a point on solvency. I note that the PRA becomes in charge of the risk-free rates. I hope that there will be some co-ordination there so that we do not end up having a completely different risk-free rate from the rest of the EU. That might be a rather difficult situation. I cannot resist saying that I hope the PRA makes a better job of the risk-free rate than the Government have of the discount rate.