Clause 50 - Central counterparties in financial difficulties

Financial Services and Markets Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 1 November 2022.

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

Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments 9, 24 to 28, 10, 29, 11 and 12, 30, 13 to 15, and 31.

That schedule 11 be the Eleventh schedule to the Bill.

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

The clause introduces schedule 11, which expands the existing resolution regime for central counterparties, or CCPs. CCPs provide clearing services for large volumes of financial trading activity and are systemically important pieces of market infrastructure.

Resolution is the framework for managing the failure of systemic financial institutions. It provides the Bank of England, the UK’s resolution authority, with the tools required to manage the failure of a financial firm safely. If a CCP got into difficulty and could not continue to provide its clearing services, there could be serious consequences for financial markets, affecting financial stability and potential risks to public funds

Although the UK has an existing resolution regime for CCPs, introduced in 2014, a fuller and stronger set of powers will enable the Bank to take faster and more extensive action than it can now. Schedule 11 will therefore expand the existing CCP resolution regime, providing the Bank with a comprehensive set of tools and powers to protect financial stability and limit contagion within the financial sector. That includes powers to remove impediments to resolvability in a CCP before it gets into any difficulties, and the ability for the Bank to put a CCP into resolution before the CCP’s own recovery measures have been exhausted, if continued recovery actions would be likely to compromise financial stability.

The schedule gives the Bank the powers needed to impose losses on the CCP and its clearing members in the first instance of the very unlikely event of failure, thereby protecting public funds. It also enables the Bank to take control of a failing CCP to stabilise the CCP and ensure the continuity of critical clearing functions while it is in resolution.

By expanding the existing regime we are also ensuring that our regime reflects international standards, as set out by the Financial Stability Board. That will cement the UK’s reputation as a global leader in providing clearing services and further enhance confidence in the UK’s financial system. The provisions therefore demonstrate the Government’s ongoing commitment to high standards and effective stewardship of the UK’s financial services sector, so I recommend that clause 50 and schedule 11 stand part of the Bill.

I also commend amendments 9 to 15 and 24 to 31. They are technical amendments that will ensure that schedule 11 functions as intended, reflecting the original policy intent by rectifying drafting errors and ensuring the legislation is applied consistently across the UK.

Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Treasury)

Because of the volume of trades cleared through CCPs, the failure of one could pose risks to the stability of the financial system. We therefore welcome clause 50 and the Government’s various technical amendments. Does the Minister agree that, because of the high risk to the financial system that a failed CCP could pose, the expanded regime must be brought in as a priority? How long after the Bill has passed will the provision become law and the regime be implemented?

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

I agree with the hon. Lady that, given the systemic importance, it is important to bring the regime into place as quickly as possible. It will be for the Bank to consult on that. I expect the Bank to do that shortly after Royal Assent and then bring forward the necessary measures to put it in place. I hope that is enough for the hon. Lady at this time. We want to see the implementation proceed as quickly as possible.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 50 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.