Clause 15 - Discontinuance or suspension at the request of the issuer: procedure

Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 pm on 6th March 2012.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Let me say some brief words appropriately on discontinuation and suspension, given that we are discussing clause 15. Part 6 of FSMA provides for the official listing of securities. Section 77 of the Act provides that the FSA—[ Interruption. ]

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

Order. Frankly, the Front Bench should know better, as in fact should all members of the Committee. It is not either proper or in order to banter across the Room while the Minister or anyone else is on their feet. If the two hon. Gentlemen want to have an argument, I suggest that they step outside and have it. Otherwise, they should keep their words to themselves.

Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

As I was saying, the FSA may also suspend listings. Naturally, the procedure to be followed in such cases is as set in section 78 of FSMA. The clause makes technical amendments to section 78A, which sets out the procedure to be followed when the issuer of security applies for a listing to be discontinued or suspended. The main change to the provision is to enable the FCA in future to give notice in writing or orally when it decides to take the action requested by the issuer. That will simplify the procedure and enable the FCA to act more quickly in such cases.

At present, the FCA must give detailed, written notice to the issuer even when it is agreeing to the request that the issuer has itself made. That can be burdensome in practice, waste everyone’s time and even irritate or confuse. The FCA will also have more flexibility to specify listing rules that some of the information and certification to the issuer might contain. At present, there is no flexibility as section 78 sets out what must be contained in the written notice. Of course, there will be no change in procedure if the FCA decides not to agree to the issuer’s request nor will there be change in the procedure or safeguards in cases when the FCA wishes on its own initiative to discontinue or suspend a listing.

Ordered, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Greg Hands.)

Adjourned till Thursday at half-past Nine o’clock.