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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 Kramer Baroness Kramer Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Treasury and Economy) 5:45 pm, 1st October 2019

My Lords, I am going to add a few words of comment. I suspect that the noble Lord, Lord Deben, has said everything that I would love to have said but I will narrow down and make a few more detailed comments. I want to pick up again the issue of divergence that I raised earlier. I fully understand that these are on the whole very minor changes to the statutory instrument and we are certainly not going to oppose them. I can see that they are tidying up.

However, two things struck me, one of which was addressed by my noble friend Lady Bowles: that we end up with a different risk-free rate within the UK from that being used, essentially, within the EU. I suppose people will say that that is a version of taking back control. As far as I am concerned, it is once again a mechanism for trouble and regulatory arbitrage. I am slightly worried that it does not seem to be accompanied—perhaps I have missed this—by any kind of mechanism to make sure that there is a great deal of common thinking and consultation around an issue like that. Choosing a different risk-free rate can rock the markets dramatically, quite frankly, and one can see that in the wrong hands there is a potential danger for this to be used as a competitive tool rather than as a tool to provide financial stability. I am just concerned that nothing in this SI really addresses that issue, though it has had the virtue of drawing our attention to the fact that this now becomes a pretty major problem.

I turn to an issue where I do not understand quite what is going on. Paragraph 2.9 of the Explanatory Memorandum raises the issue of the EU’s determination that a regulatory and supervisory framework for trading venues in Singapore is equivalent to the EU’s framework —in other words, there is an equivalency recognition between the EU and Singapore, and that makes a great deal of sense. I am unclear from looking at this where the UK stands following Brexit, should it happen, in terms of an equivalence relationship with Singapore. Perhaps the Minister could help me. Is this a mechanism that extends our recognition of Singapore as equivalent? Does Singapore’s recognition of the EU as equivalent carry over to us in our new separated role? Only a handful of markets carry on the same sort of global trading activities, so it seems important that we have some understanding and clarification around that.

Those are the only two issues that I wanted to raise. I again thank the noble Lord, Lord Deben, for really underpinning the fundamentals.