Examination of Witnesses

Part of Financial Services Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:11 pm on 19th November 2020.

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Fran Boait:

Fundamentally, we want robust frameworks that allow for input and do not just allow legislation, such as the capital regulation requirements, to be changed without scrutiny, because they have really significant consequences for the whole UK economy. That is why I started by laying out how critical the direction of financial services is.

It is worth saying that we are not out of the repercussions of 10 years ago, so we do not want in any way to go back to the days of regulation being done behind closed doors. I understand that there is a capacity issue, but is about having those opportunities for both Parliament and the wider public—civil society—to feed in.

It is also worth thinking about the regulators themselves. For example, one of the things that the new chief executive of the FCA has said is that they will also be liable for legal attacks on what they are having to implement, so putting all the onus on them is an issue. At the same time, we know that there has been an issue with the revolving door between our regulatory bodies—the Treasury, the FCA, the PRA and the Bank of England—and the industry.

There is a grave concern about this transfer of power. If capacity is an issue, Parliament surely wants to be looking at how to resource things better, in terms of more Clerks or staff, plus thinking about how the EU funded civil society, rather than saying, “Actually, no, it’s fine. We will just have reduced transparency and accountability.”