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Dark Pool Trades

Volume 555: debated on Tuesday 11 December 2012

The regulation of dark pools is subject to the markets in financial instruments directive, which is currently undergoing legislative review. The Government are negotiating to ensure that all dark pools are subject to regulatory oversight and that appropriate transparency measures are applied to them. However, we believe that dark pools provide a valuable service to pension funds and other investors and that regulation should not prohibit that.

Dark pools have that name for a reason: they are murky and not transparent, allowing financial institutions to buy and sell shares without anybody seeing what they are doing. Why will the Minister not just apply the same rules to dark pool trades as are applied to the open stock market, where everybody can see exactly what is sold, when it is sold, to whom it is sold and at what cost?

As you well know, Mr Speaker, dark pools allow one party to keep important details from other parties, which is a fair description of the economic policies of the Labour party. I say to the hon. Lady that the providers of pension funds are very clear that to over-regulate the dark pools would lead to a reduction in people’s pension pots. They have said that over the course of a 40-year pension fund this would require the pension fund holder to work an extra year. That is not in anyone’s interest.

Will my right hon. Friend update the House on the progress the Government are making in implementing the recommendations of the Kay review of equity markets and long-term decision making?

I certainly commend John Kay for the clarity of his review, and we are taking steps, both in Europe and domestically, to implement his recommendations.