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Clause 31 - Repeal of special competiton regime

Part of Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury) 9:30 am, 15th March 2012

I am aware that people want to make good progress this morning, so I shall do my best to accommodate them.

I wish to say a few words about the clause and the repeal of the special competition rules that makes redundant chapter 2 of the Financial Services and Markets Acts 2000 as well as chapter 3 on exclusion from the Competition Act 1998. Instead of those provisions, section 290A of FSMA means the appropriate regulator has the power to refuse a recognition order if the applicant has existing or proposed regulatory provisions that might have excessive implications for a person who is affected directly or indirectly by it.

Does the Minister believe that there would be scope to require the recognised body to make changes to its regulatory provisions, if an application were being refused solely on the basis of that particular regulatory provision? There seems no obvious sign that subsequent changes to the regulatory provisions of recognised bodies will be monitored by the relevant body. Can the hon. Gentleman give me an assurance on that matter?

Which body have the Government decided will be responsible for such issues going forward? Will it be the Financial Conduct Authority, given that it has a competition objective, or will it be the Office of Fair Trading? I shall not go through all the information about the duties and functions of the OFT because the hon. Gentleman will be aware of it, but will he provide some clarity and say which agency is most suitable for monitoring competition?