Clause 43 - Exercise of FMI regulatory powers

Financial Services and Markets Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 27 October 2022.

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

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Conservative, Basingstoke

With this it will be convenient to discuss clause 45 stand part.

Photo of Andrew Griffith Andrew Griffith The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Committee has previously discussed the repeal of retained EU law so that it can be replaced with an approach to regulation designed for the UK. As part of that, the Bank of England will take on additional responsibility in relation to the regulation of central counterparties and central securities depositories. Clause 43 sets statutory objectives for the Bank of England to advance, and regulatory principles for it to consider, when fulfilling those responsibilities.

Currently, the Bank has an objective to protect and enhance UK financial stability. Clause 43 confirms that that will continue to be the Bank’s primary objective when regulating CCPs and CSDs, reflecting the vital role played by those financial market infrastructures. The clause also sets out further considerations to which the Bank must have regard when pursuing that objective. First, the Bank must have regard to the effect that its regulation may have on the financial stability of other countries where FMIs provide services. It must also have regard to the desirability of regulating CCPs and CSDs in a way that is not determined by the location of users of their services.

The UK is home to clearing and settlement markets used by market participants around the world. UK CCPs and CSDs are therefore pieces of important infrastructure used by firms in many jurisdictions. As such, it is right that the UK authorities, in regulating these firms, should consider their impact on the financial stability not just of the UK but of other countries.

The clause also introduces a new secondary objective for the Bank in relation to its regulation of CCPs and CSDs. This requires it to facilitate innovation in the provision of services as far as is reasonably possible, subject to pursuing its primary objective. The Bank will pursue this new objective with a view to improving the quality, efficiency and economy of these services. The Bank must also have regard to a set of general regulatory principles, which largely mirror those in place for other regulators.

However, there is also a new principle on the desirability of facilitating fair and reasonable access to services provided by CCPs and CSDs. This recognises that individual firms can often serve the majority of the market in their specialist areas and aims to ensure that their customers can continue to access these services on fair terms.

To further reflect the Bank’s increased responsibility in this space, the clause also sets up a new statutory financial market infrastructure committee in the Bank of England and makes provision about its make-up. The committee will be responsible for the Bank’s functions in relation to these matters but the Bank may also expand the committee’s remit to cover other functions, if it deems that to be appropriate.

Clause 45 updates FSMA to reflect the Bank of England’s increased responsibilities for the regulation of CCPs and CSDs, and ensures that the Bank has the appropriate powers to supplement its new general rule-making power. The clause also applies a range of accountability mechanisms to the Bank’s regulation of CCPs and CSDs, which the Bill also introduces for other regulators. These measures have previously been discussed by this Committee and include, for example, the power for the Treasury to set out matters that the Bank must consider when making rules in specific areas of regulation.

Together, clauses 43 and 45 are vital in ensuring that the Bank is accountable for its use of the new powers and follows the appropriate public policy objectives when exercising its powers. I therefore recommend that these clauses stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 43 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.