Peter Grant: Q How effective has the UK been at keeping dirty money out of the financial services sector?
Peter Grant: Q If there is a long-term downtick in the world’s willingness to invest clean money in the United Kingdom, does that increase the risk that dirty money will replace it?
Peter Grant: Q Is there a replacement risk with the EU legislation? Certainly a number of our witnesses from the big institutions said that there are parts of it that they would like to see removed or changed. Is it not the case that what it gets replaced with is vital? If it gets replaced by weaker regulation, does that threaten the stability of the markets in the longer term?
Peter Grant: Q Mr Fieth, let me first come to you and the comment that you made previously about the UK not really having a tradition of mutually owned lending banks. Was not the first trustee savings bank set up in Dumfriesshire in 1810? There has been a very long and proud tradition of locally and community-owned banks, which survived for a long time. They were basically wiped out in a series of...
Peter Grant: Q Thank you. Mr Kelly, a lot of the evidence that we heard earlier today—I do not know how much of it you were able to watch—came from the big institutions, which clearly have a large part of UK exports—a significant part of the UK economy. Could you briefly explain the importance of credit unions, particularly with regard to the promotion of financial inclusion?
Peter Grant: Q Thank you. You referred to the need to be competitive. When earlier witnesses used that phrase, they often clarified it with reference to overseas businesses or overseas financial services sectors. When you talk about being competitive, who are you competing with? Is there anything in the Bill that helps you to become competitive, or is there anything that could be added that would help?
Peter Grant: Q According to the Financial Conduct Authority website, in just over the last year, eight credit unions have gone into administration; only one did in the preceding three years. Is there something about the current financial services sector, or about the credit union model, that means there is a systemic problem? Or is it simply that, if we move from having a small number of big players to a...
Peter Grant: Q I know that your website describes one of your key aims as developing a larger capital market across Europe. There is a trick to be pulled off in encouraging all the right kinds of people to come and invest in your financial markets while keeping the wrong kinds of people out. How effective has the UK’s previous regulatory regime been at keeping Russian money out of our financial markets?
Peter Grant: Q A number of transparency and anti-corruption campaigners regularly say that London has become or is in the process of becoming one of the go-to locations of choice for money laundering and similar activities. Is that a concern that you think is grounded in fact? Or is it just an urban myth with nothing behind it?
Peter Grant: I do not know whether your responsibilities at Which? include consumer protection, particularly in relation to the financial services market, but from your perspective do the millions of small-scale retail consumers of financial services have confidence in the current regulatory framework of the United KingdomQ ?
Peter Grant: Q Does the Bill as it stands strengthen or weaken that regulatory framework? Or does it leave it as is?
Peter Grant: Q I was interested that the Minister in his question used the metaphor of a good seatbelt. Some of us think that the regulatory environment for road traffic should ensure that nobody needs to rely on a seatbelt, but that is perhaps a discussion for later. I have had a number of representations, as I think other members of the Committee have, from individuals or groups of people who have been...
Peter Grant: I am sorry. I will try to speak into the microphone, so forgive me for not looking at you. Do you have a view on the numerous representations we have had from victims of financial scams who think it is time to revisit the very broad immunity from civil liability that the regulators have?
Peter Grant: Q Is there a need to specify in the Bill, or to enable in later regulation, a widening of the mandatory compensation scheme to types of scams that we do not yet know about?
Peter Grant: Q Ms Clark, can I come back to your comment earlier about insurance companies having been set up in Gibraltar and elsewhere offshore but not in the UK? Do you have reasonable grounds to believe that the UK regulatory environment has been a significant factor in those decisions? Can you point to particular regulatory requirements that are preventing people from setting up insurance companies here?
Peter Grant: There could be a number of reasons why UK business owners choose to set up companies offshore, including in Gibraltar, and they are not always reasons that have the best interests of consumers at heart.
Peter Grant: Q Clause 1 proposes to repeal around 250 pieces of European legislation, pretty much at the stoke of a pen. The rest of the Bill then expects the Treasury to replace all those bits of legislation by a process that will allow for very minimal parliamentary oversight. Do you have concerns either that there may be a period where parts of the market are inadequately regulated or, alternatively,...
Peter Grant: Q You are using terms such as “transpose” and “translate”, and the representatives from the FCA that we heard from earlier used similar terms. Are we talking about almost literally translating all these documents into the English of the United Kingdom or are we talking about significantly changing the legislation as part of that process?
Peter Grant: Q I have another question for both you. There have been suggestions that the Bill should place responsibility on the regulator to promote competitiveness. There have been suggestions that matters such as consumer protection and compatibility with the UK’s climate change obligations should be given the same importance in the regulator’s responsibilities as international competitiveness....
Peter Grant: Q Are those comments made within the context that achieving a permanent change in net zero targets is not optional? It is absolutely necessary.