Clause 32 - Sections 26 to 31: minor and consequential amendments

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

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

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

Briefly, the clause is centred on a number of minor and consequential amendments that relate generally to changes in replacing the FSA with either the Bank or the FCA, which, again, goes back to points that we have already discussed. Although the amendments may seem minor and consequential, they are symbolic of problems in the Bill as a whole and the potential confusion about which regulator is responsible for what. Many of the amendments have been made with the intention of providing clarity, but they demonstrate further the Bill’s complexity. As someone said to me, it looks as though instead of there being one fixed circuit, there are wires going off in all directions. The Government are trying to put things together in the hope that the bulb will stay on and the situation will be illuminated. There is a distinct possibility, however, that the light will be switched off if people do not understand the provision.

I want the Minister to clarify what assistance the Government will offer to individuals who have an interest in a healthy financial services industry to ensure that they can cut through the Bill’s complexity. I will not comment on the detail of schedule 8, but I ask him for clarity. I note the number of times the Bill states that the responsibility has shifted to the “the appropriate regulator”. Perhaps everyone is expected to know immediately who is responsible.

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

The clause and related schedule refer to a set of rules that is applied to recognised investment exchanges and clearing houses. The provisions ensure that powers are exercised by the relevant regulator. It is straightforward: the Bank of England is responsible for clearing houses and the FCA is responsible for recognised investment exchanges. There is a simple divide between the two, which provides a great deal of clarity for people interested in these topics.

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

I thank the Minister for those comments. I realise that I have, again, repeated some of the criticism that has been made in discussions on the Bill. His clarity has been put on the record, which will be helpful as we move forward. I do not intend to press the matter to a vote.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 32 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.