Financial Services and Markets Bill – in a Public Bill Committee on 1st November 2022.
With this it will be convenient to discuss that schedule 7 be the Seventh schedule to the Bill.
Good morning, Mr Sharma. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship.
If it pleases the Committee, I would like to draw the Committee’s attention to a letter that I have written to you, Mr Sharma, and to the interim Chair of the Treasury Committee. I had previously undertaken that it was my intention to table for the consideration of the Committee some draft wording on a public interest intervention power. As a result of the new Prime Minister wishing to understand what is an important matter in more detail, such that consideration can be given to points that have been made and to whether the proposed wording is the right wording, I regret that it will not be possible for us to table a proposal at this stage. There will be further consideration of the matter on Report and at other stages, and my commitment to write to the Treasury Committee, as well as to members of this Committee, as soon as we have draft wording for Members’ consideration, stands. I give that commitment to the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn as well.
The clause introduces schedule 7, which sets out corresponding or similar provisions to those introduced for the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority in chapter 3 of the Bill, relating to the accountability of the payment systems regulator. As the Committee is aware, the Bill repeals retained EU law pertaining to financial services. That means that the regulators, including the Payment Systems Regulator, will generally be responsible for setting the direct regulatory requirements for supervised entities where those were previously contained in retained EU law.
As the Committee has already discussed in some detail, it is important that that increase in responsibility for the regulators is balanced with clear accountability, appropriate democratic input and transparent oversight. It is also important that the accountability measures are applied consistently across the regulators. Schedule 7 therefore makes provisions corresponding or similar to those in chapter 3 in a way that is relevant to and appropriate for the PSR.
The accountability provisions are applied to the PSR by amending the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013, which is the domestic legislation governing the PSR. The key distinction is that because the PSR makes rules via powers of direction, as opposed to having the rulebook like the FCA, the accountability requirements on rule making apply where the PSR imposes a generally applicable requirement. Those are the PSR’s equivalent for rule making. Overall, the provisions in the schedule apply the accountability measures in a relevant and appropriate way to the PSR’s legislative framework and regulatory remit. This will ensure consistency in the application of the accountability provisions across the financial services regulators.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Sharma. I have just one question for the Minister. How does he foresee the Payment Systems Regulator’s new sustainable growth principles taking account of the UK’s net zero emissions target? How will that balance work in practice? Will the regulator be required to report against its performance?
In substance, the Payment Systems Regulator, in the same way as the FCA, the Bank and the PRA, will have the target as one of its principles. It will be for the PSR to decide how it reports against that. These are ultimately decisions for the regulators themselves to put into practice. To the extent that I have more information at this stage, I will write to the hon. Lady with any clarity I can provide.