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Financial Services Bill

Volume 741: debated on Monday 26 November 2012

Report (4th Day) (Continued)

Clause 26 : Powers of regulators in relation to parent undertakings

Amendment 90

Moved by

90: Clause 26, page 114, leave out lines 30 and 31

My Lords, here we return to an issue which I raised in Committee. It is what I refer to as the “Tesco amendment”, dealing with a situation where large companies outside of the financial sector are becoming involved in providing financial services and are, increasingly, the parent companies of new entrants to the financial sector. It might just as well have been called the “Asda amendment” or possibly the “Virgin amendment”. The point here is that the welcome provisions in this part of the Bill on extending regulation to cover issues relating to the parent company then go on to be restricted to those parent companies that are financial institutions already. I have yet to hear from the Government a logical explanation as to why that should be the case.

As I said, I welcome the general extension to cover the possibility of regulation in this area. I also welcome the entry of many non-financial institutions—of appropriate competence—into this area to provide a degree of competition that is much needed. Of course, the Government recognise that at some point they might have to extend this to non-financial parent companies. Why not do it now? I do not see a reason for the distinction at this point. Therefore, my Amendment 90 would exclude from the Bill that restriction and make all parent companies equal, and Amendment 91 would therefore logically remove the ability of the Treasury to change those rules at a later stage.

When we proposed the extension to cover parent companies the Treasury had a very logical reason to do so. In presenting the principles behind the draft Financial Services Bill, it said that,

“during severe stress, the different priorities and responsibilities of the board of a parent undertaking relative to the regulated company … can be exposed … the FSA does not have legal powers to require action at the level of the parent undertaking”.

That would mean that a number of options were closed. It therefore planned the extension. It is not difficult to see why the same should not apply to a parent company that is a non-financial institution in the terms of this Bill.

Both in another place and at the Committee stage here the Government’s explanation for the distinction seemed to be a little lacking in common sense. Mark Hoban, speaking in the Commons, said that the extension to cover parent companies was a proportionate expansion. He went on to say, extraordinarily:

“We want to avoid the sense that the FCA or the PRA could intervene in the price of bread at Tesco or Sainsbury’s”.—[Official Report, Commons, Financial Services Bill Committee, 8/3/12; col. 466.]

That shows a complete misunderstanding of the intent of the amendment. We are concerned with financial services and the possibility that parent companies of financial operators would be excluded from this very useful provision of the Bill.

When we came to our own Committee stage, the Minister said, more or less, “We are moving the boundaries and we don’t want to go any further, but we’ve allowed ourselves the possibility of going further at a later stage”. Why should that be the case? This situation already exists. It relates to operators such as Tesco, which are extending into the financial services area, and we could, within a very few years, see quite a few examples of that happening. Surely it is in both the interests of the banking sector as a whole and of consumers as a whole that parent companies are treated the same, whatever their own genesis.

From the banking point of view, this lack of cover clearly means that the banking sector is operating at a competitive disadvantage in one sense—or potentially so—to traditional parent companies in the financial sector. From the consumer point of view, it means that regulations would not be applied that could be appropriate to a non-financial parent company. I also raised a separate point in Committee, which related to the need to ensure the security of information that was derived from a non-financial parent company’s other operations. One example is of sales patterns of Tesco, which are kept on my Tesco card. I am happy for the Tesco card to have information on my purchases, but I do not want it passed on to my bank. We would need some Chinese wall provisions unless the parent company was also covered by regulations.

Were my two amendments to be accepted, that issue could perfectly well be covered by regulations. If we do not have the non-financial parent company covered, then no regulations in the world will stop that, although the Minister referred to the data protection legislation as being appropriate. However, further inquiries on my part have indicated that that may not be appropriate if it was done on a systematic basis as distinct from a major one-off move. I have yet to receive a logical explanation from the Minister as to why this admittedly potentially temporary exclusion exists. I therefore hope that we can get an explanation now.

There are some government amendments within this group. I see nothing wrong with them as far as I understand them. They are quite sensible amendments. I hope that the Minister will recognise, in a complementary way, that my amendments are also very sensible and that they would give some cohesion and equality of treatment to the whole of this changing sector. I beg to move.

My Lords, I support my noble friend Lord Whitty. He has clearly hit on something that is very real in the development of consumer financial services today and is very beneficial to the expansion of competition in the provision of financial services. It seems peculiar that, in the drafting of this clause, the Government both include the condition, in subsection (4), and then say, a few lines later, “We may leave this condition out”. Surely there is already enough evidence of the importance of non-financial parent institutions developing financial services. Why, then, as my noble friend has so clearly described, do we not recognise it now?

My Lords, new Part 12A of FiSMA, as inserted by Clause 26, extends and strengthens the regulatory framework by giving the regulators powers to act in relation to a parent entity, which is itself not regulated, but controls and exerts influence over a regulated entity. As we have heard, Amendments 90 and 91 seek to make significant changes to the scope of the powers over parent undertakings. We have not heard new arguments this afternoon, and regret that I probably will not advance any significantly new ones either—as is often the case. However, let me go through the argument as clearly as I can.

The Government are extending and strengthening the regulatory framework, so it is important that these new powers, which are untried and untested in the UK, have safeguards in place to ensure that they are used in a targeted and proportionate manner. I stress the new powers; they are not powers that previous Governments have sought to put in place, so we will put an important additional series of safeguards in place. However, their untried and untested nature is principally why the Government have proposed limiting the power to financial institutions of a kind prescribed by the Treasury in order to keep it within reasonable bounds.

As has already been identified today and on other occasions, if your main business is owning or managing authorised persons, you are caught, but if your main business is making or selling bread, then you are not. That is what the Government intend at this stage. We do not wish, at this stage, to give the financial services regulators powers of direction in relation to parent undertakings whose main business is not related to financial services. However, the Government are very much alive to the concerns raised by the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, which is why we propose to take a power to remove the limitation to financial institutions. We accept that it may be appropriate to widen the scope of Part 12A powers to catch a wider range of parent undertakings but the Government remain unconvinced that now is the appropriate time for these new powers to apply to parent undertakings which are not themselves financial institutions. It is a developing area of financial services industry practice. We need to watch it closely and the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, is right to remind us of that. The provision future-proofs the powers and ensures that the Treasury has the flexibility to respond if circumstances change and firm structures evolve, such that parent undertakings are no longer captured within the scope of the power.

I know that in both Houses there has been interest in strengthening the application of the powers over unregulated parent undertakings. Government Amendments 91A to 91E seek therefore to improve the usability of the powers. Amendments 91A, 91B and 91C lower the trigger for use of the power against parent undertakings and make the power more usable. Amendments 91A and 91B clarify that the regulators can give a direction if it is considered desirable in order to advance the FCA’s operational objectives or any of the PRA’s objectives, or if the giving of the direction is desirable for the purpose of the effective consolidated supervision of the group. Amendment 91C is a related consequential amendment.

As a result of these amendments, the FCA and PRA, would no longer have to demonstrate that,

“the acts or omissions of the … parent … are having or may have a material adverse effect on the regulation … of one or more … authorised persons … or the effectiveness of consolidated supervision”.

After reviewing the powers in light of statements made in this House about the imperative need for the regulators to have effective powers over the parent undertakings of authorised persons and consulting with the authorities, the Government consider the previous threshold was set too high, which would have made the power difficult to use in practice. The high threshold may also have hindered and sometimes prevented the regulators properly supervising complex financial groups.

These amendments will mean that the powers can be used effectively by the regulators to address difficulties within the group as a whole. That will better fulfil the Government’s objective of ensuring that the regulators have the tools they need to conduct suitably robust supervision of unregulated holding companies.

Amendment 91E would make similar changes to the power of direction that the Bank of England has in relation to the parent undertaking of a recognised clearing house. Amendment 91D would remove the requirement that a direction must specify the period during which each requirement remains in force. This ensures that, in appropriate cases, the regulator can give a direction of an indefinite duration. It better aligns the new Part 12A powers with the provisions in new Sections 55L and 55M to be inserted into FiSMA, which provide for the imposition of requirements on authorised persons by the FCA and PRA of an indefinite duration.

While we think that directions in relation to unregulated parent undertakings should generally be of limited duration, we can conceive of cases—for example, in connection with structural reform of the kind envisaged by the Banking Reform Bill—where it would be appropriate for a direction to have an indefinite duration. Amendment 91D therefore provides the regulator with the flexibility to give a direction of an indefinite duration.

Will my noble friend explain more about government Amendment 91A? I do not understand why the reference to the FCA is different from that to the PRA. As regards the FCA, the amendment refers to,

“one or more of its operational objectives”.

I am not quite sure which of its objectives is non-operational. As regards the PRA, the amendment refers to, “any of its objectives”. I think that “any” means one only. Why is the drafting different between the two?

I do not think that there is any material significance, other than that it tracks the wording of the different form of objectives which relate to the two bodies. It now escapes me because it is a few hours since we discussed the form of the objectives but I do not believe that there is any substantive point that relates to what we are doing here to change the power over holding companies. If it is all right with my noble friend, I will write to him to confirm why this links into the slight different wording used.

My Lords, the Minister is right that there is not a lot new under the sun to be said about this clause and these amendments. I find it slightly odd that, in advocating his own amendments, he is looking for flexibility and usability, whereas in relation to mine, he is retaining a high degree of rigidity. In a situation where there is exactly the same behaviour by a parent company which is a financial institution and another which is not, when the regulator decides that it would need to intervene on the former but not on the latter, the Government may be open to a situation where there is a problem of equality of treatment and, therefore, one of effective competition. I suspect that my learned friends would be brought in if those two things were to happen simultaneously.

I therefore think that the Government are digging themselves a bit of a hole in resisting what I had hoped was a fairly common-sense amendment. However, they appear to be adamant that they have powers to bring in the kind of change for which I am seeking. Therefore, at this stage, I will not pursue my amendment.

Amendment 90 withdrawn.

Amendment 91 not moved.

Amendments 91A to 91D

Moved by

91A: Clause 26, page 115, leave out lines 1 to 5 and insert—

“(2) The general condition is that the appropriate regulator considers that it is desirable to give the direction in order to advance—

(a) in the case of the FCA, one or more of its operational objectives;(b) in the case of the PRA, any of its objectives.”

91B: Clause 26, page 115, line 12, leave out from “that” to end of line 15 and insert “the giving of the direction is desirable for the purpose of the effective consolidated supervision of the group”.

91C: Clause 26, page 115, leave out line 31

91D: Clause 26, page 115, leave out lines 43 and 44 and insert—

“( ) A requirement imposed by the direction may be expressed to expire at the end of a specified period, but the imposition of a requirement that expires at the end of a specified period does not affect the power to give a further direction imposing a new requirement.

( ) The direction—

(a) may be revoked by the regulator which gave it by written notice to the body to which it is given, and(b) ceases to be in force if the body to which it is given ceases to be a qualifying parent undertaking.”

Amendments 91A to 91D agreed.

Schedule 7 : Application of provisions of FSMA 2000 to Bank of England etc

Amendments 91E and 92

Moved by

91E: Schedule 7, page 245, leave out lines 23 to 27 and insert—

“(a) the general condition in subsection (2) were that the Bank considers that it is desirable to give the direction for the purpose of the effective regulation of one or more recognised clearing houses in the group of the qualifying parent undertaking,”

92: Schedule 7, page 251, leave out lines 30 to 32

Amendments 91E and 92 agreed.

Clause 30 : Additional power to direct UK clearing houses

Moved by

92A: Clause 30, page 122, leave out lines 3 to 26 and insert—

“296A Additional power to direct UK clearing houses

(1) The Bank of England may direct a UK clearing house to take, or refrain from taking, specified action if the Bank is satisfied that it is desirable to give the direction, having regard to the public interest in—

(a) protecting and enhancing the stability of the UK financial system,(b) maintaining public confidence in the stability of the UK financial system,(c) maintaining the continuity of the central counterparty clearing services provided by the clearing house, and(d) maintaining and enhancing the financial resilience of the clearing house.(2) The direction may, in particular—

(a) specify the time for compliance with the direction,(b) require the rules of the clearing house to be amended, and (c) override such rules (whether generally or in their application to a particular case).(3) The direction is enforceable, on the application of the Bank, by an injunction or, in Scotland, by an order for specific performance under section 45 of the Court of Session Act 1988.

(4) The Bank may revoke a direction given under this section.

(5) In this section “central counterparty clearing services” has the same meaning as in section 155 of the Companies Act 1989 (see subsection (3A) of that section).

296B Additional power to direct UK clearing houses (No. 2)

(1) The Bank of England shall ensure that each authorised Clearing House draws up and maintains a recovery plan providing, through measures taken by the management of the clearing house or by a group entity, for the restoration of its financial situation following significant deterioration.

(2) The Bank of England shall ensure that the clearing houses update their recovery plans at least annually or after change to the legal or organisational structure of the clearing house, its business or its financial situation, which could have a material effect on, or necessitates a change to the recovery plan; and the Bank of England may require authorised clearing houses to update their recovery plans more frequently.

(3) Recovery plans shall not assume any access to or receipt of extraordinary public financial support but shall include, where applicable, an analysis of how and when a clearing house may apply for the use of central bank facilities in stressed conditions and available collateral.

(4) The Bank of England shall ensure that authorised clearing houses include in recovery plans appropriate conditions and procedures to ensure the timely implementation of recovery actions as well as a wide range of recovery options; and the Bank of England shall ensure that firms test their recovery plans against a range of scenarios of financial distress, varying in their severity including system wide events, legal-entity specific stress and group-wide stress.

296C Additional power to direct UK clearing houses (No. 3)

(1) The Bank of England shall require authorised clearing houses to submit recovery plans to it for review.

(2) The Bank of England shall review those plans and assess the extent to which each plan the following criteria—

(a) the implementation of the arrangements proposed in the plan would be likely to restore the viability and financial soundness of the clearing house, taking into account the preparatory measures that the clearing house has taken or has planned to take;(b) the plan or specific options could be implemented effectively in situations of financial stress and without causing any significant adverse effect on the financial system, including in the event that other clearing houses implemented recovery plans within the same time period.(3) Where the Bank of England assess that there are deficiencies in the recovery plan, or potential impediments to its implementation, they shall notify the clearing house of their assessment and require the clearing house to submit, within three months, a revised plan demonstrating how those deficiencies or impediments have been addressed.

(4) If the clearing house fails to submit a revised recovery plan, or if the Bank of England determines that the revised recovery plan does not adequately remedy the deficiencies or potential impediments identified in its original assessment, the Bank of England shall require the clearing house to take any measure it considers necessary to ensure that the deficiencies or impediments are removed; and the Bank of England may, in particular, require the clearing house to take actions to—

(a) facilitate the reduction of the risk profile of the clearing house;(b) enable timely recapitalisation measures;(c) make changes to the firm strategy;(d) make changes to the funding strategy so as to improve the resilience of the core business lines and critical operations;(e) make changes to the governance structure of the clearing house.”

My Lords, Amendment 92A would require the Bank of England to ensure that UK-authorised clearing houses have in place a recovery plan. The amendment sets out the features of a recovery plan and requires each clearing house to submit a recovery plan to the Bank for assessment. The amendment also gives the Bank the power to require changes to recovery plans that it finds deficient against well defined criteria. In the case of continued deficiency, it gives the Bank the power to require the clearing house to take any measure that it considers necessary to remedy these deficiencies. The overriding purpose of the amendment is to put in place statutory provisions to make catastrophic clearing house failure less likely.

I know that the Government are entirely alive to the possible failure of clearing houses, and I am grateful for the discussions that I have had with the Ministers’ officials on the subject. I think that it is almost universally acknowledged that when the G20 proposals for putting almost all derivatives trading through clearing houses are in place, these greatly enlarged clearing houses will be the focus of greatly enlarged risk.

One of the immediate consequences of the huge enlargement of business through the clearing houses will be a huge increase in the demand for high-quality collateral. The IMF believes that this shift will boost demand for high-grade assets by between $2 trillion and $4 trillion. The question is, of course, where will these high-grade assets be found? It is entirely possible that there will not be enough of them to backstop the $700 trillion derivatives market. In fact, in the US at least seven banks plan to let customers swap lower-rated securities that do not meet clearing house standards in return for a loan of treasuries that do—a process which is known, rather alarmingly, as “collateral transformation”. We saw what happened with the collateral transformation of sub-prime bonds, and we can see where this new collateral transformation might lead.

On 7 November, in his evidence to the Banking Standards Commission, in response to a question from my noble friend Lady Kramer, Andy Haldane of the Bank of England said that,

“many people are fearful that the next crisis may be in the infrastructure and particularly in the central counterparty space. For all the reasons you say, these will be entities that are too big to fail, on steroids”.

He was talking about clearing houses.

The Bill already contains a partial response to the fear that the failure of a clearing house would produce an even worse financial crisis than the one we are enduring. The Government have introduced in the Bill powers of resolution to deal in an orderly way with the failure of a clearing house. However, there is a stage before failure that is vital to consider if the chances of avoiding collapse are to be as high as possible—the stage that deals with recovery.

I am certain that all clearing houses already have in place detailed recovery plans aimed at preventing outright failure, allowing some continuation of trading and preventing infection spreading pervasively throughout the financial system. I am certain that these plans will have been discussed with the Bank. The Government may think that these discussions are sufficient. After all, there are only five recognised UK clearing houses and seven recognised overseas clearing houses under supervision.

The Government may also feel that the Bill already gives the Bank power to do pretty much as it sees fit, in the widest possible sense, if it sees a crisis developing. However, this assumes that it can see a crisis developing, which was obviously not true in the recent past. It also assumes that informal discussions are better than a clear, well defined statutory obligation. It places a higher value on informal contact than on an open, clear, regular and disciplined system of review. That attitude did not work too well with LIBOR. The Government’s Statement this afternoon about the new Governor of the Bank of England rather bizarrely stated:

“The role the Bank of England plays in our economy cannot be underestimated”.

It does not seem satisfactory essentially to say that because there are only 12 recognised clearing houses, the Bank can and will keep a very close eye on them. I am sure that the Bank already keeps a close eye on them, and its gaze will be even keener when the clearing houses’ risk to the entire financial system is enormously magnified. However, an eye, no matter how closely applied, is no substitute for a formal, disciplined, well defined and transparent supervisory process.

In a very real sense, the whole Bill is based on the premise that formal, disciplined, well defined and transparent supervisory processes are critical to the proper functioning and stability of the financial system. The EU also takes this point of view. An EU draft directive on recovery and resolution was published earlier this year. It requires a specific, formal and disciplined process for clearing houses to draw up recovery plans, maintain them and have them assessed and gives the appropriate regulator power to assess and to intervene. The language of the amendment comes almost directly from the draft directive. However, at the moment, the draft directive is not making much progress. It is still waiting for First Reading in the European Parliament.

The Government had anticipated that it may take time for European legislation to emerge. In their response to the consultation opened by the document, Financial Sector Resolution: Broadening the Regime, which covers central counterparties as a key group and closed on 24 September, the Government stated:

“In due course, the Government would therefore expect to see European legislation brought forward. However, the timing of any European legislation is uncertain at this stage. Even the Recovery and Resolution Directive, which is more advanced than other proposals, does not have a date that is certain for its adoption. The Government is therefore minded to develop the UK’s domestic regime in advance of the European process”.

This is exactly what the Government have done regarding the resolution half of the proposal. The question is why they have not done this for the recovery part of the proposal. Warding off collapse is every bit as important as dealing with collapse. The risks involved in the failure of a clearing house have the potential to make the current financial crisis look almost trivial. Why not take every precaution we can, and why not take them now?

The new Governor of the Bank of England is also of this mind. He said two weeks ago in a speech to the Canadian Club of Montreal that it was not yet clear that the “too big to fail” situation had been ended, and added, quite explicitly, that each global systemically important financial institution must have mandatory recovery resolution plans in place. I hope that the Minister will agree with Mr Carney and might reconsider the importance of having in place a rigorous recovery plan regime for clearing houses, rather than relying on informal supervision while we wait for the EU to regulate. I beg to move.

My Lords, I draw attention to Amendments 92B and 92C in my name. I must declare my interest as a director of the London Stock Exchange and, for that matter, as vice president of the Borsa Italiana—and, as such, the owner of a clearing house in Italy. Subject to all the regulatory requirements, I have a 60% shareholding in LCH.Clearnet, a London-based clearing house.

London Stock Exchange Group supports recovery and resolution powers for the financial markets and believes that these will be best delivered in clear and consistent legislation. We expect to come under close scrutiny. The amendments in my name help with elements of proposed new Section 296A of the Financial Services and Markets Act, which gives the Bank of England additional powers to direct UK clearing houses that were introduced by the Government in Committee. That is why we have not heard quite so much about them until now.

I am grateful to the Minister for the assurance he provided to the House on 15 October that the Bank of England would not use these powers to require shareholders, members or clients of clearing houses to recapitalise or otherwise fund a failing clearing house. This is vital because owners of a clearing house need to know their maximum possible liabilities in order to manage and control their funding. Following helpful discussions with HM Treasury and the Bank of England, it is understood that the circumstances in which the power of direction would be exercised fall somewhere between the day-to-day powers and the other powers provided by the Banking Act. Again, I am grateful to HM Treasury and the Bank of England for their willingness to engage in dialogue on all this. I am sure that we all want effective regulation of clearing houses, but we need clarity and certainty around the scope of the powers and the circumstances of their use.

The amendment seeks to put in the Bill the government description of the circumstances in which the powers would be used, as is the case for the existing crisis powers, and when they are to be used. This should also include a requirement to consult the other regulators and the clearing house, as suggested in the amendment.

My amendments would bring clarity and would, to some extent, future-proof these powers in three key ways. First, Amendment 92B would clarify that the powers would be used only if “necessary”, rather than “desirable”, which is an objective and appropriate test.

Secondly, Amendment 92C seeks to characterise the new powers in proposed new Section 296A of the Financial Services and Markets Act more clearly as sitting between the day-to-day powers and the Bank of England’s crisis powers. My amendment seeks to introduce conditions on the Section 296A power, while stopping short of requirements provided for under the Banking Act powers, which have much stricter trigger conditions and consultation requirements. This would allow the Bank a clear ability to use the different sets of powers. If Government can improve on this wording to give greater clarity on exactly when the powers would be used, I would welcome that. I hope at this stage only to highlight the issue and seek closer definitions.

Thirdly, Amendment 92C would place a consultation requirement on the Bank before using the powers—and takes account of the changes being made to Section 298 of FiSMA—that would allow the Bank to waive consulting the clearing house, if necessary. This would ensure that the relevant authorities considered the wider market consequences of a proposed direction, while allowing flexibility for the Bank.

Taken together, these amendments would achieve the Government’s objectives and support the legitimate interest of clearing houses. The amendments would retain full flexibility of the Bill as drafted, while offering greater clarity and certainty for market infrastructure operators, which we all need.

My Lords, Amendment 93A to some extent overlaps with Amendments 92B and 92C, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Cohen. However, its thrust is slightly different. It has the support of ICE Clear Europe, which I believe has raised its concerns directly with the Minister. The starting point is that, given the systemic importance of clearing houses, it is self-evidently appropriate for the Bank to have powers to direct them in certain circumstances.

The powers granted to the Bank of England by Section 296A of FiSMA are extremely wide and broad—arguably too wide and broad—and could be counterproductive to achieving financial stability. My case is that Section 296A should be subject to specific, transparent and predictable trigger conditions. My amendment seeks to address the issue by setting out the trigger conditions and scope for action and intervention by the Bank of England under Section 296A. Other amendments have been tabled that address the issue in a different way. Amendments 92B and 92C in particular are there to achieve clarity and certainty, with less concern about the absolute extent of the Bank of England’s powers.

The key principle of the trigger conditions and scope that my amendment proposes is that Section 296A should be used only in the event that without such direction the clearing house would fail or would be likely to fail. Secondly, a particular concern is that the Bank of England could use the broad powers granted by Section 296A to direct a viable clearing house to take on business that could be severely damaging to its interests. Section 296A should not be used in this way. Directions should relate only to the existing business of a clearing house. Finally, Section 296A should be used only in consultation with relevant bodies, including the clearing house itself. The noble Baroness, Lady Cohen, made the same point.

If the principles set out in Amendment 93A were adopted, they would allow the Government’s objective to be achieved. They would tailor the regime to circumstances in which the Bank of England would need to intervene in the market to maintain financial stability, and they would reflect the appropriate interests of the clearing houses.

My Lords, the Government note the concerns expressed about the additional powers of direction to be conferred on the Bank of England. Some of these concerns are reflected in Amendments 92B and 92C, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Cohen of Pimlico. These amendments seek to impose more stringent conditions on the Bank of England’s ability to exercise the Section 296A power. I will say at the outset that in response, the Government are minded to bring forward amendments at Third Reading to address some of the concerns raised by the industry.

Before bringing forward amendments at Third Reading, I will reflect further on the debate we have had today. However, I am happy to confirm that the Government are considering amendments to raise the threshold of the trigger for the power of direction to a “necessary” rather than a “desirable” test; to more clearly set out how the power is to be used, including specifying procedures with which the Bank should comply prior to issuing a direction, whether on a routine or an expedited basis; and, finally, to set out in statute the assurance that I have already given the House that the additional power of direction cannot be used to compel a clearing house to accept the business of a competitor.

I will now address the amendments in this group. Amendment 92A, tabled by my noble friend Lord Sharkey, seeks to introduce a requirement for clearing houses to draw up and maintain recovery plans. The appropriate place for a requirement for clearing houses to prepare recovery plans would be in Part III of the recognition requirement regulations made under Section 286 of FiSMA, not in primary legislation.

The Government have already outlined their intention to build on the positive developments around loss allocation arrangements that are being introduced by some clearing houses of their own volition, and will also consult on proposals to make changes to the recognition requirement regulations, which are the operating conditions under which clearing houses are licensed to operate in the UK. The changes would have the effect of requiring all UK clearing houses to have in place loss allocation rules. As part of the consultation exercise, the Government will also seek views on proposals to change the recognition requirement regulations to make mandatory the preparation and maintenance of recovery plans by clearing houses. We are on the case and certainly are not waiting for EU legislation. However, we believe that the recognition requirement regulations are the appropriate place for these conditions, and we will take action to that end.

Amendment 93A, tabled by my noble friend Lord Flight, would impose further preconditions on the exercise of the power, would limit the scope of any direction given under the power and would apply various provisions of the special resolution regime provided for in Part 1 of the Banking Act 2009 to any direction given. It would not be appropriate for the Bank of England to wait until the financial position of a clearing house had deteriorated to the extent that it posed a serious threat to financial stability or failed to meet its recognition requirements before exercising the additional power of direction. The additional power of direction is a supervisory power, not a resolution power. It will allow the Bank of England to manage the considerable risks that may be posed by the actions of a clearing house which do not constitute a breach of its recognition requirements or its obligations under FiSMA 2000. If Amendment 93A were agreed, the Bank of England might be unable to give a direction that would safeguard the solvency of a clearing house, forcing the use of resolution powers as a last resort in order to minimise the impact of the failure of the clearing house on wider financial stability.

It would also be inappropriate to limit the scope of any direction that the Bank of England might give in the way suggested by Amendment 93A. The additional power of direction is intentionally wide-ranging. The Government feel that this is essential in order to build in sufficient flexibility to enable the Bank to manage and respond to new and unusual risks that may require regulatory action that goes beyond the purposes specified in Amendment 93A. The Government also believe that requiring a court order to be obtained before any direction could be given by the Bank could undermine successful regulatory intervention in instances where there was a need to act with alacrity in the event of a crisis. The court may not necessarily be well placed to make judgments on whether action is necessary having regard to the relevant public interest criteria.

Finally, it would not be feasible to apply the provisions of the special resolution regime provided for in Part 1 of the Banking Act 2009 to this power of direction. The additional supervisory power of direction provided for by Section 296A is separate and distinct from the stabilisation powers, exercisable in respect of UK clearing houses, provided for by Amendment 193G. In contrast to the power of direction, which is a supervisory tool, the stabilisation powers are resolution tools that would be deployed to minimise the impact of the failure of a clearing house on wider financial stability. Given that alternative, specific resolution powers exist, it would be unreasonable for the Bank of England to use the power of direction to effect “partial property transfers”. Such an action would be contrary to the constraints under which the Bank operates as a public authority.

With those explanations and assurances about what we intend to come forward with at Third Reading, I hope that my noble friend will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

My Lords, I seem to have put my amendment in the wrong place, but I think I heard the Minister say that recovery plans would be made mandatory in any case but by other means. Given the risks involved, it would be nice to have some sense of when that may actually happen, but in the mean time I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 92A withdrawn.

Amendments 92B and 92C not moved.

Amendment 93

Moved by

93: Clause 30, page 122, leave out lines 24 to 26

Amendment 93 agreed.

Amendment 93A not moved.

Schedule 8 : Sections 27 to 33: minor and consequential amendments

Amendment 94

Moved by

94: Schedule 8, page 257, line 8, after “(1)” insert—

“(a) after the definition of “applicant” insert—““central counterparty clearing services” has the same meaning as in section 155 of the Companies Act 1989 (see subsection (3A) of that section);”, and

(b) ”

Amendment 94 agreed.

Clause 36 : Discipline and enforcement

Amendment 94A

Moved by

94A: Clause 36, page 126, line 10, at end insert—

“(2) If the Treasury consider that it is in the public interest to do so, the Treasury may by order—

(a) amend section 391 of FSMA 2000 by substituting for subsections (1) to (1ZB) the following—“(1) Neither the regulator giving a warning notice nor a person to whom it is given or copied may publish the notice or any details concerning it.”, and(b) repeal section 395(1)(d) and (2)(b) and (c) of that Act.”

My Lords, we return now to the issue of warning notices and procedures for decision-making within our regulators. We have had lengthy debates on these issues in Committee, and rightly so as they concern important matters relating to fairness and natural justice. I shall return to Amendments 97A and 97ZZA when my noble friend Lord Flight and the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter of Kentish Town, have spoken. For now, I shall focus on the group of government amendments concerning warning notices.

The new power for the regulators to disclose the fact that a disciplinary warning notice has been issued constitutes a real departure from the regulatory regime up to this point and a bold move towards more transparent, effective and open regulation. The power has been welcomed by many, including of course by the noble Baroness on behalf of the Opposition. However, concerns have been raised by members from all sides of the House. These concerns fall broadly into two categories: first, that the power will be used irresponsibly; and secondly, that there should be a greater degree of independence involved in reaching a decision to disclose the fact that a warning notice has been issued. The Government have tabled amendments that I hope will address both these issues.

Amendment 94A provides for a power for the Treasury to repeal the warning notices power,

“If the Treasury consider that it is in the public interest to do so”.

As I noted in Committee, this provision is intended as a useful backstop against irresponsible use of the power. The Treasury would expect to use its power to repeal if it felt that the way in which the power was being used did not serve the wider public interests. I hope that noble Lords are reassured that this will pose a substantial and clear check on the power being used in a way that is damaging or irresponsible.

In Committee on 15 October, the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, quite rightly noted that the power to repeal is a substantial one and that such a decision should involve parliamentary scrutiny. I fully agree with her and that is why Amendment 117A makes the use of this power subject to affirmative procedure. I hope that the noble Baroness is reassured by that.

Amendments 97ZA and 97ZB are intended to address some of the concerns expressed by a number of Members of this House, including my noble friends Lord Flight, Lord Deben and Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter of Kentish Town. This is about the process by which a decision is taken to disclose the fact that a warning notice has been issued.

The concern expressed was that there was a lack of independence in the decision to disclose, with the effect that the regulator would be judge, jury and executioner when it came to a decision to disclose that a warning notice had been issued. Amendments 97ZA and 97ZB bring the decision to disclose that a disciplinary warning notice has been issued into the list of matters subject to the procedures set out in Section 395 of FiSMA. The amendments set out the criteria with which the process for deciding to disclose a warning notice must comply, noting that the decision must be taken either by a person other than the person by whom the decision to disclose was first proposed, or by two or more persons not including the person by whom the decision to disclose was first proposed. This is intended to deliver a degree of independence in the decision-making process and mirrors the conditions set out in relation to the decision to issue a warning notice or decision notice. I hope that this addresses some of the concerns expressed in our debates in Committee on the issue.

In addition, Amendment 97ZB also provides that where possible the same procedure should be used to decide on both the issuance and disclosure of a warning notice. This would mean, for example, that for the FCA, the Government expect the Regulatory Decisions Committee to take both these decisions. We will return to the issue of the RDC and its status shortly but for now I would simply remind the House that the FSA has confirmed in its approach document for the FCA, published on 16 October, that the RDC will continue for the FCA in its current form. This amendment sets the expectation that the RDC will take the decisions both to issue and to disclose a warning notice.

I hope that I have been able to give reassurance that the Government are listening to the concerns raised by noble Lords. I beg to move.

My Lords, Amendment 97A seeks to require each of the two regulators to establish an independent committee to determine whether to publish a warning notice relating to any individual whom it plans to discipline and to whom that individual may then make representations. The RDC, as we know, has no statutory basis so cannot usefully be referred to, hence the formulation of the last paragraph of my Amendment 97A. This amendment does not preclude a regulator publishing a warning notice against an individual for market abuse or for acting without individual approval when required, matters which I think are different in nature and would distract from the key principle at stake if they were not thus excluded.

It seems to me that government Amendments 97ZA and 97ZB achieve that which I sought to argue for both in Committee and today—that is, a fair process of taking a decision and a fair process of deciding to publish. Via a somewhat tortuous route, the Government seem to have it exactly right for the FCA. The RDC will be the body taking the fair tribunal and then taking the decision on the warning notice. What is still lacking is what will happen at the PRA. There is no indication whether it is considering using the RDC or having any sort of sensible judicial body. If it does, then it will apparently be bound by Amendments 97ZA and 97ZB, if enacted. I would therefore hope that the Minister can give the House some comfort that the PRA is intending to mirror broadly the intended arrangements for the FCA; Amendments 97ZA and 97ZB seem to achieve what is wanted for both regulators. It is appropriate that for both regulatory bodies there should be a fair due process, both out of principle and fairness; we should not forget the other stakeholders, the pension funds that hold the shares of institutions that may be badly damaged by the reputational damage of a warning notice.

My Lords, I wonder if my noble friend could deal with one aspect of his explanation of government Amendment 94A. It may be that I misunderstood what he said. Is this to be a general removal of power—that is, a backstop—or is it going to be available in individual cases? It is not clear from his explanation whether it will be gone for ever or if an individual case could say to the Treasury, “We are going to be unfairly treated. Please step in”. At the moment, the former is a very blunt instrument and a lot of eggs could be broken before you get back to a more satisfactory situation if you felt that the regulator was using the power unwisely, unfairly and disproportionately. Could he explain the point when he comes to wind up the debate?

My Lords, I thank the Minister for introducing these amendments and I hope I am right in understanding that the backstop power is for the whole thing and not for individual cases. I see that the Minister is nodding in agreement that I have the interpretation right. I thank him for that now being an affirmative order if it was to be changed. I am confident that the public interest will not bring it back to this House, so I am quite relaxed about it.

The other amendments aside from the first one relating to the backstop power are about ensuring some independence on the issue of warning notices, or in the case of Amendment 97ZA in the name of my noble friend Lord Eatwell and myself, on the whole disciplinary process. This amendment would ensure that a properly constituted and independent determinations panel would be responsible for dealing with all cases presented by the FCA or indeed by the PRA. As I explained in Committee, that is in effect the procedure introduced for the Pensions Regulator in 2004. It is seen as robust and independent, and it has indeed turned down some of the cases that have been taken to it. I would have to say, of course, since I was a member of it, that it was effective. It has been a useful way of ensuring that there is confidence that when cases are brought by staff, they are well scrutinised.

As the Minister has said, the government amendments in this group other than the first one on the backstop go some way to answering our concerns. However, I do not think that they go quite far enough, although I guess that we should be grateful for some movement. They introduce a degree of independence to the consideration of a case brought by FCA or PRA staff, but they fail to ensure the continuance of the RDC to give its statutory backing. We hear what the Minister says about the statement of the current FSA on what the future FCA will voluntarily choose to do, but I hope that the Government do not at some point in the future rue the day that they failed to protect the RDC’s existence and independence. For the moment, however, perhaps the noble Lord could confirm the Government’s commitment, not just that of the FCA, to the continuance of the RDC.

My Lords, I think that I can probably be briefer than I had intended in responding to these amendments. I will confirm again that the backstop power is, as my noble friend has characterised it even though it may not be what he would like to see, a “gone for ever” backstop. However, I hope it will give comfort that we will keep under review the way this important new power is operated.

On Amendment 97A, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Flight for saying in terms that he is reassured by the effect of Amendments 97ZA and 97ZB, to which I spoke at some length, so I will not go over that ground again. The issue about the difference between the FCA and the PRA here is a simple one. We see the FCA as being the regulator that would issue these types of warning notice and to which the new power applies, and we do not actually see the PRA doing it. That is why we have constructed things as they are and we can rely on the approach of the RDC continuing as we have discussed. But if the PRA were to get into the warning notices business, which we do not anticipate, there are provisions in the Bill that would cause it to look at how it would construct an independent process that might take it down an RDC-type route.

I am not sure whether the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, was expecting me to say more about Amendment 97ZZA because we have agreed that we went over this ground on 15 October. I am grateful to her for what she said about the government amendments, so unless she would like me to go on at some length, I think that we have probably done it justice. However, I am grateful for this short debate.

Amendment 94A agreed.

Schedule 9 : Discipline and enforcement

Amendments 94B to 97

Moved by

94B: Schedule 9, page 258, leave out lines 12 and 13 and insert—

“(4) For subsection (2) substitute—

“(2) A contravention within subsection (1) or (1A)—

(a) does not, except as provided by section 23(1A), make a person guilty of an offence,(b) does not, except as provided by section 26A, make any transaction void or unenforceable, and(c) does not, except as provided by subsection (3), give rise to any right of action for breach of statutory duty.””

94C: Schedule 9, page 258, line 15, at end insert—

“( ) After subsection (3) insert—

“(4) Subsections (1) and (1A) are subject to section 39(1D).

(5) References in this Act to an authorised person acting in contravention of this section are references to the person acting in a way that results in a contravention within subsection (1) or (1A).””

94D: Schedule 9, page 258, line 15, at end insert—

“2A (1) Section 23 (contravention of the general prohibition) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) An authorised person (“A”) is guilty of an offence if A carries on a credit-related regulated activity in the United Kingdom, or purports to do so, otherwise than in accordance with permission—

(a) given to that person under Part 4A, or(b) resulting from any other provision of this Act.(1B) In this Act “credit-related regulated activity” means a regulated activity of a kind designated by the Treasury by order.

(1C) The Treasury may designate a regulated activity under subsection (1B) only if the activity involves a person—

(a) entering into or administering an agreement under which the person provides another person with credit,(b) exercising or being able to exercise the rights of the lender under an agreement under which another person provides a third party with credit, or(c) taking steps to procure payment of debts due under an agreement under which another person is provided with credit.(1D) But a regulated activity may not be designated under subsection (1B) if the agreement in question is one under which the obligation of the borrower is secured on land.

(1E) “Credit” includes any cash loan or other financial accommodation.

(1F) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1A) is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the applicable maximum term or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both;(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or a fine, or both.(1G) The “applicable maximum term” is—

(a) in England and Wales, 12 months (or 6 months, if the offence was committed before the commencement of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003); (b) in Scotland, 12 months;(c) in Northern Ireland, 6 months.”(3) After subsection (3) insert—

“(4) Subsection (1A) is subject to section 39(1D).

(5) No proceedings may be brought against a person in respect of an offence under subsection (1A) in a case where either regulator has taken action under section 205, 206 or 206A in relation to the alleged contravention within section 20(1) or (1A).”

(4) In the heading to the section, at the end insert “or section 20(1) or (1A)”.

2B After section 23 insert—

“23A Parliamentary control in relation to certain orders under section 23

(1) This section applies to the first order made under section 23(1B).

(2) This section also applies to any subsequent order made under section 23(1B) which contains a statement by the Treasury that, in their opinion, the effect (or one of the effects) of the proposed order would be that an activity would become a credit-related regulated activity.

(3) An order to which this section applies may not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.”

2C After section 26 insert—

“26A Agreements relating to credit

(1) An agreement that is made by an authorised person in contravention of section 20 is unenforceable against the other party if the agreement is entered into in the course of carrying on a credit-related regulated activity involving matters falling within section 23(1C)(a).

(2) The other party is entitled to recover—

(a) any money or other property paid or transferred by that party under the agreement, and(b) compensation for any loss sustained by that party as a result of having parted with it.(3) In subsections (1) and (2) “agreement” means an agreement—

(a) which is made after this section comes into force, and(b) the making or performance of which constitutes, or is part of, the credit-related regulated activity.(4) If the administration of an agreement involves the carrying on of a credit-related regulated activity, the agreement may not be enforced by a person for the time being exercising the rights of the lender under the agreement unless that person has permission, given under Part 4A or resulting from any other provision of this Act, in relation to that activity.

(5) If the taking of steps to procure payment of debts due under an agreement involves the carrying on of a credit-related regulated activity, the agreement may not be enforced by a person for the time being exercising the rights of the lender under the agreement unless the agreement is enforced in accordance with permission—

(a) given under Part 4A to the person enforcing the agreement, or(b) resulting from any other provision of this Act.”3 In section 27 (agreements made through unauthorised persons) for subsection (1) substitute—

“(1) This section applies to an agreement that—

(a) is made by an authorised person (“the provider”) in the course of carrying on a regulated activity,(b) is not made in contravention of the general prohibition,(c) if it relates to a credit-related regulated activity, is not made in contravention of section 20, and(d) is made in consequence of something said or done by another person (“the third party”) in the course of—(i) a regulated activity carried on by the third party in contravention of the general prohibition, or (ii) a credit-related regulated activity carried on by the third party in contravention of section 20.(1A) The agreement is unenforceable against the other party.”

4 In section 28 (agreements made unenforceable by section 26 or 27)—

(a) at the end of subsection (1) insert “, other than an agreement entered into in the course of carrying on a credit-related regulated activity”,(b) in the heading to the section, at the end insert “: general cases”.5 After section 28 insert—

“28A Credit-related agreements made unenforceable by section 26, 26A or 27

(1) This section applies to an agreement that—

(a) is entered into in the course of carrying on a credit-related regulated activity, and(b) is unenforceable because of section 26, 26A or 27.(2) The amount of compensation recoverable as a result of that section is—

(a) the amount agreed by the parties, or(b) on the application of either party, the amount specified in a written notice given by the FCA to the applicant.(3) If on application by the relevant firm the FCA is satisfied that it is just and equitable in the circumstances of the case, it may by written notice to the applicant allow—

(a) the agreement to be enforced, or(b) money paid or property transferred under the agreement to be retained.(4) In considering whether to allow the agreement to be enforced or (as the case may be) the money or property paid or transferred under the agreement to be retained the FCA must—

(a) if the case arises as a result of section 26 or 26A, have regard to the issue mentioned in subsection (5), or(b) if the case arises as a result of section 27, have regard to the issue mentioned in subsection (6).(5) The issue is whether the relevant firm reasonably believed that by making the agreement the relevant firm was neither contravening the general prohibition nor contravening section 20.

(6) The issue is whether the provider knew that the third party was (in carrying on the credit-related regulated activity) either contravening the general prohibition or contravening section 20.

(7) An application to the FCA under this section by the relevant firm may relate to specified agreements or to agreements of a specified description or made at a specified time.

(8) “The relevant firm” means—

(a) in a case falling within section 26, the person in breach of the general prohibition;(b) in a case falling within section 26A or 27, the authorised person concerned.(9) If the FCA thinks fit, it may when acting under subsection (2)(b) or (3)—

(a) limit the determination in its notice to specified agreements, or agreements of a specified description or made at a specified time;(b) make the determination in its notice conditional on the doing of specified acts by the applicant.28B Decisions under section 28A: procedure

(1) A notice under section 28A(2)(b) or (3) must—

(a) give the FCA’s reasons for its determination, and(b) give an indication of—(i) the right to have the matter referred to the Tribunal that is conferred by subsection (3), and(ii) the procedure on such a reference.(2) The FCA must, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, give a copy of the notice to any other person who appears to it to be affected by the determination to which the notice relates.

(3) A person who is aggrieved by the determination of an application under section 28A(2)(b) or (3) may refer the matter to the Tribunal.””

95: Schedule 9, page 258, line 36, at end insert—

“( ) In section 130 (guidance), in subsection (1)(b), for “section 397 of this Act” substitute “Part 6A of the Financial Services Act 2012”.”

95A: Schedule 9, page 260, line 19, at end insert—

“( ) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) Each regulator’s policy with respect to the imposition of penalties, suspensions or restrictions under this Part must include policy with respect to their imposition in relation to conduct which constitutes or may constitute an offence by virtue of section 23(1A) (authorised persons carrying on credit-related regulated activities otherwise than in accordance with permission).””

96: Schedule 9, page 261, line 8, leave out from beginning to “qualifying” in line 9 and insert “for sub-paragraph (i) (but not the “or” following it) substitute—

“(i) which is imposed by or under this Act or by a”

97: Schedule 9, page 262, line 6, leave out from beginning to “qualifying” in line 7 and insert “for sub-paragraph (i) (but not the “or” following it) substitute—

“(i) which is imposed by or under this Act or by a”

Amendments 94B to 97 agreed.

Amendments 97ZZA to 97A not moved.

Amendments 98 to 101

Moved by

98: Schedule 9, page 269, line 32, at end insert—

“30A In section 400 (offences by a body corporate etc) after subsection (6) insert—

“(6A) References in this section to an offence under this Act include a reference to an offence under Part 6A of the Financial Services Act 2012 (offences relating to financial services).””

99: Schedule 9, page 269, line 33, at end insert—

“( ) For subsection (1) substitute—

“(1) In this section “offence” means—

(a) an offence under this Act,(b) an offence under subordinate legislation made under this Act, or(c) an offence under Part 6A of the Financial Services Act 2012 (offences relating to financial services).””

100: Schedule 9, page 270, line 19, leave out from “of” to end of line 20 and insert “any other offence”

101: Schedule 9, page 270, line 25, at end insert—

“32A In section 403 (jurisdiction and procedure in respect of offences), in subsection (7), at the end insert “or an offence under Part 6A of the Financial Services Act 2012 (offences relating to financial services).”

Amendments 98 to 101 agreed.

Clause 38 : The financial ombudsman service

Amendment 101A

Moved by

101A: Clause 38, page 126, line 21, at end insert—

“( ) The Treasury or the Secretary of State may by order amend Schedule 17 to FSMA 2000 to require a scheme operator acting under the Schedule to make rules relating to the behaviour of a person who has entered into an agreement with a complainant to represent the complainant with respect to a complaint under the compulsory jurisdiction, the consumer credit jurisdiction or the voluntary jurisdiction pursuant to which any fee has been, will be or may be paid by the complainant.”

My Lords, in moving Amendment 101A as one of the three amendments tabled in my name on the Marshalled List, I hope that all noble Lords will agree that something now needs to be done. Whenever I raise the issue of claims management companies in the House, I always say that many of them act responsibly and fulfil an important role. If people want to use them, that is their prerogative. On the mis-selling of payment protection insurance, it was the banks that mis-sold these products to their customers, not the claims management companies. It is also true to say that if the banks were more upfront about what they had done, then the room for these companies to operate would be greatly diminished and more money would end up in the pockets of consumers who had been mis-sold the products rather than in the hands of the CMCs, which can take up to 30% of someone’s successful claim.

My amendment states:

“The Treasury or the Secretary of State may”—

I emphasise the use of “may”—

“by order amend Schedule 17 to FSMA 2000 to require a scheme operator acting under the Schedule to make rules”.

If the amendment is accepted we would not be forcing the Government to do anything that they do not want to do themselves. We are merely giving them the power to do something in the future if they want to do so. Amendments 101B and 101C are more prescriptive and in both cases use “must”. I would be delighted if the Government would accept them, but today I am offering them a version using “may”.

The amendment using “may” could be all that is needed. It would give the Government another string to their bow so that they could say even more forcefully, “Look, we believe in self-regulation in this sector, but there is considerable concern about the practices of some CMCs. As an industry, you need to get your act together, clean up the bad practice and deal with those who are making the industry look bad for all of you. If you do not get a grip, we are going to make sure that regulations are in place to ensure that you all act responsibility. So let us be clear: we have taken the required powers to enable us to do this, and we can act quickly if your industry fails to do so”. That may be all that needs to be done if the industry regulates itself properly.

Why is this amendment needed? It is simple. What is in place at the moment is not robust enough. The part of the industry that needs to get its act together will presently breach guidelines on cold-calling, text messages and email messages, it will fail to disclose properly the amount of compensation, and the consumer will have to pay if the claim is successful. We have all had the nuisance calls and text messages. I have seen firms at my local shopping centre telling people that they will get them thousands of pounds in compensation. When I asked a question recently on text messaging, the noble Lord, Lord McNally, accepted that the range of bodies involved on different aspects may be part of the problem in ensuring effective regulation.

Other types of bad practice include companies that bombard a whole raft of financial institutions with PPI claims on behalf of the customer, not even bothering to check whether the consumer ever had dealings with that particular institution before submitting the claim. What does that do? It wastes the time and money of the financial institution concerned and it diverts resources away from dealing with the genuine complaints so that consumers have to wait even longer to get their cases dealt with. After dealing with the financial institution, or in some cases not even bothering to go to the financial institution, all claims are submitted to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which again wastes time, costs everybody money except the CMCs concerned and makes genuine complainants wait even longer to get their complaint dealt with.

In conclusion, I hope that the Government will accept this amendment. As I said at the start, it should cause them no problems whatever. It compels them to do nothing they do not want to do themselves. It just says “may”, and that may be all that is required. I beg to move.

My Lords, I support my noble friend’s very sensible amendment. I loved his last line: that “may” may be what is required in this respect. The amendment does two things. First, it is future-proofing—something on which the Treasury is usually very keen. Secondly, in an area where we know—and the Government have acknowledged—that abuses are taking place, it preserves the potential for self-regulation but is a shot across the bows, which should make those who are behaving improperly take much greater care. It preserves a spirit of self-regulation, if self-regulation is seen to work effectively. Given that the Treasury or the Secretary of State may by order amend Schedule 17 in the manner set out by my noble friend, I would like to commend this amendment to the Government.

I rise briefly to support these amendments. They seem extremely sensible. I do not want to repeat what the noble Lord, Lord Eatwell, has just said. I like the idea of “may”; I like the idea of self-regulation; and I like the chance for the industry to be able to put its house in order. That is clearly very sensible. The only point I would add is that we now have a situation where a substantial proportion of claims coming forward are fraudulent, semi-fraudulent or unjustified. In each case, the firm about whom the complaint is made must pay £850 to have the case investigated. That is a staggering sum of money and it ends up being paid by the consumers. We really need to find a way to short-circuit that, so that where the claims are fraudulent, something can be done to ensure that the claims management companies, rather than the firm, end up with some of the costs—and, indeed, to ensure that the costs are not passed on to the rest of us. There is a good idea here. I hope that the Government will give the amendments a sympathetic hearing.

My Lords, clearly there are serious conduct problems among a minority of claims management companies. Nobody denies that. We are all too well aware that the reaction of the claims industry to the mass mis-selling of payment protection insurance has also brought with it a fall in compliance standards and an increase in poor practices, to some of which the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, referred. He said that something needs to be done. Something is being done. The claims management regulator is taking forward a programme of reforms which are due to be implemented next year. These include a ban on claims management companies offering financial rewards or similar benefits as an inducement to make a claim; tightening the conduct rules so that the requirements of authorisation are made clearer and protection for consumers is strengthened; and extending the role of the Legal Ombudsman to act as an ombudsman for consumers with complaints about claims management companies, which I think deals with some of the points that were made about the ombudsman.

However, we will continue to require a robust and co-ordinated approach from both the claims management regulator and the FCA in responding to risks of detriment. That starts with the financial services regulator. Lessons have been learnt from PPI. The FCA will have an objective requiring it to intervene earlier to prevent detriment arising and, where mass detriment is occurring, use its powers to establish or agree redress schemes so that affected customers are proactively contacted and compensated. We have seen the FSA already moving much more quickly to agree redress schemes with the major banks in relation to the interest rate hedge mis-selling.

However, where CMCs have a role to play, consumers already seeking redress need to be protected against further detriment. So we will see the claims management regulator stepping up its approach and resources devoted to tackling the underlying problems that exist in the conduct of some CMCs. We have already seen the establishment of a specialist PPI compliance team at the claims management regulator. To ensure that the regulator is sufficiently funded going forward, the MoJ is proposing to increase fees levied on CMCs, particularly those operating in the financial products and services sector.

However, I am not convinced that institutional reform is necessarily the answer. At the moment, it could represent a distraction from the task at hand, particularly given everything else that is happening in changing the financial sector regulatory architecture. It is important to remember that CMCs operate in a number of sectors, not just financial services. In fact, personal injury remains the largest sector. PPI is a very significant sector currently, but the next wave of activity and potential detriment may come from another sector. As I have said before, we do not think that it is appropriate for the FOS to act as a quasi-regulator, as the amendments propose. That would detract from its role as an independent ombudsman. It is simply not what an ombudsman does. That is why it does not matter whether the clause says “must” or “may”. Our objection is not about that; it is that an ombudsman is not the right person to act as a quasi-regulator. The regulators do that. The ombudsman looks at particular claims of mistreatment.

Amendment 101A would simply provide an enabling power. However, it is making a proposal in terms of institutional change which we think is inappropriate. That is not to say that the Government are complacent in any respect about the need to do more in terms of the regulation of CMCs. The range of activities that I have mentioned gives us cause to believe that we will see a very significant increase in the effectiveness of regulation in the period ahead. In the light of that, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this short debate. I thank my noble friend Lord Eatwell and the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, for their support. The Minister’s response was very disappointing. He knows that I have pursued this matter for some time now. Yes, some action may be taking place, but the problem is that the rules in place are inadequate and are not properly enforced. Nothing that the noble Lord has said today in his response has convinced me otherwise. In that case, I should like to test the opinion of the House.

Schedule 11 : The financial ombudsman service

Amendments 101B and 101C not moved.

Schedule 12 : Amendments of Parts 11 and 23 of FSMA 2000

Amendment 101D

Moved by

101D: Schedule 12, page 282, line 25, at end insert—

“( ) In subsection (2)—

(a) in paragraph (a), for “or 397” substitute “or under Part 6A of the Financial Services Act 2012”, and(b) after paragraph (b) insert—“(ba) an authorised person may have contravened section 20 in relation to a credit-related regulated activity;”.”

Amendment 101D agreed.

Amendment 102 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.

Amendments 103 to 105

Moved by

103: Schedule 12, page 282, line 39, leave out paragraph (f)

104: Schedule 12, page 282, leave out line 41 and insert—

“(h) for paragraph (k) substitute—”

105: Schedule 12, page 287, line 30, leave out “directors,”

Amendments 103 to 105 agreed.

Schedule 13 : Auditors and actuaries

Amendment 105A

Moved by

105A: Schedule 13, page 289, line 11, at end insert—

“1A In Part 22 (auditors and actuaries), before section 340 (and the italic heading immediately before it) insert—

“General duties of PRA339A General duties of PRA in relation to auditors

(1) The arrangements maintained by the PRA under section 2K (supervision of PRA-authorised persons) must include arrangements for—

(a) the sharing with auditors of PRA-authorised persons of information that the PRA is not prevented from disclosing, and(b) the exchange of opinions with auditors of PRA-authorised persons.(2) The PRA must issue and maintain a code of practice describing how it will comply with subsection (1).

(3) The PRA may at any time alter or replace a code issued under this section.

(4) If a code is altered or replaced, the PRA must issue the altered or replacement code.

(5) When the PRA issues a code under this section the PRA must—

(a) give a copy of the code to the Treasury, and(b) publish the code in such manner as the PRA thinks fit.(6) The Treasury must lay before Parliament a copy of the code.

(7) “Auditor” means an auditor appointed under or as a result of a statutory provision.””

My Lords, the government amendments in this group place new duties on the PRA to engage with auditors of PRA-authorised persons.

We had a useful debate in Committee on the role of auditors in the financial crisis. In particular, I welcomed the insightful and constructive comments made by my noble friends Lady Wheatcroft and Lord Lawson of Blaby. I committed to consider their points further and to bring back an amendment designed to address their concerns. Before I come to the detail of the amendments, I will set out briefly the work that is being done across the board to strengthen audit—and not just of banks.

First, there is the work of the Financial Reporting Council. On 28 September the FRC amended its code to require boards to state that their annual reports and accounts as a whole are fair, balanced and understandable. It also requires audit committee reports that set out the key judgments taken, and requires auditors to ensure appropriate communication between the audit committee and the board, reporting if they have evidence that the board’s overall assessment is inappropriate.

The FRC will be consulting on implementing the Sharman report recommendations, which, among other things, would require boards to report the risk and uncertainties that would affect the entity as a going concern, and would require auditors to comment if the disclosure was inconsistent with their understanding.

As noble Lords may already be aware, BIS has recently published a draft of new narrative reporting regulations that would replace the existing business review with a concise, stand-alone report focused on strategy and the organisation’s business model. This will mean that shareholders can easily find out about a company’s strategy, the risks it faces, how it is performing and the direction in which it is heading. The auditors would have to opine on the consistency of that report with the accounts.

These are all positive developments, directly addressing concerns about ensuring that audited accounts give a more complete view of the position of the firm, and what we are proposing needs to be seen against that background. As has been pointed out, there are particular issues with financial services firms. For PRA-authorised persons, questions of risk are often complex, and coming to judgments about the proper valuation of financial assets is a specialised task. In the Government’s view, the right way into this is to ensure that there is a flow of information between the auditor and the regulator to ensure that each can be informed by the judgments of the other. One example, noted in the recent PRA approach document, is that the PRA,

“will share relevant information, for example where it views a firm’s valuations of less liquid assets or its approach to provisioning to be significantly out of line with peers”.

Amendment 105A inserts a new Section 339A into FiSMA. The new section will require the PRA, as part of the arrangements it must maintain under Section 2K for supervising PRA-authorised persons, to have arrangements for sharing information and opinions,

“with auditors of PRA-authorised persons”.

The PRA must make a code of practice setting out how it will comply with this duty; it must publish the code and give a copy of the code to the Treasury, which must lay the code before Parliament. To ensure that this is a reciprocal arrangement, Amendment 105B will require the PRA to make,

“rules imposing duties on auditors of PRA-authorised persons”

in relation to co-operation with the PRA in its supervision of those persons.

The government amendments would mean that there will be an expectation, set out in law, that the PRA’s judgments about firms will be shared with the auditors. Coupled with the reforms that are being put in place by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the FRC, the Government believe that this is a useful step forward.

I stress to my noble friend that while the FSA should and could have been doing these things, the PRA approach document goes further in setting out a new level of intent, and enshrining what could and should have been best practice into the code of practice to be published and laid before Parliament puts a very helpful spotlight on this issue, which I am very grateful to her for drawing to the attention of the House. This now means that those responsible, particularly on the PRA side, cannot shirk their duty. I beg to move.

My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend for taking up the issue of auditors. Clearly, auditors did not emerge well from the financial crisis. The clean audit reports that they delivered on banks that were on the verge of bankruptcy, as later became apparent, were evidence of deep failings in the system. Much as I am grateful to my noble friend for attempting to address that, I am not entirely convinced that these amendments go far enough.

I am unclear about what these amendments might achieve. As far as I can see, they do not go much further than reiterating what is already in the Financial Services and Markets Act but failed to deliver. I hear what my noble friend says about the approach being much harsher but I am not sure. Section 342 of FiSMA contains a power for the Treasury to make,

“regulations prescribing circumstances in which an auditor or actuary must communicate matters”

to the FSA. Equally, there are provisions allowing the FSA to communicate matters to the auditors. These amendments may contain a subtle increase in the duty that is imposed, but I am not convinced that they go far enough.

My original amendment was intended to heighten the duty on auditors to report on the risks they found. I continue to believe that it is essential that they should not be able to give a nearly bust bank a clean bill of health. The Financial Reporting Council takes that view and has made changes to its corporate governance code that increase the duties on directors and auditors. It remains to be seen whether these will be effective. The FRC is also launching a consultation into changes on the interpretation of “going concern” and “liquidity risks” following the Sharman inquiry. Directors would be required to give greater disclosure on the risks in their business and how they were being addressed, and auditors would be required to report on whether they concurred with the directors’ report. On past performance, I am not sure we should be confident that auditors will take issue with directors, who, after all, pay their fees.

We should be putting more of an onus on auditors to voice any doubts that they might have about the risks being taken by any business, but particularly by a bank. The FRC says that it is keen to encourage what it terms “professional scepticism”. I hope that the Minister will forgive me if I remain somewhat sceptical about these changes and I hope that he will at least undertake to keep under review the effectiveness of the amendment that he is now proposing.

My Lords, unfortunately I was not able to be present when my noble friend’s amendment was debated in Committee, but I read Hansard and noted that my noble friend had undertaken to take the issue away and bring an amendment back. I was surprised when I looked at the amendment and saw what it was trying to deliver. It seems to me, as my noble friend has just pointed out, that there are already provisions in FiSMA, which covers the relationship between auditors and financial institutions. In addition, the Minister said that these are things that could and should have been done—but they are being done.

I have a copy of the code of practice for the relationship between the external auditor and the supervisor. This was refreshed after the financial crisis and is dated May 2011. It sets out a number of principles. Principle one states:

“Supervisors and auditors shall seek an open, cooperative and constructive relationship”.

Principle two is that they should “engage in regular dialogue”. Principle three states:

“Supervisors and auditors shall share all information relevant to carrying out their respective statutory duties and in a timely fashion”.

That code is already in existence and governing the dialogue between the FSA and auditors. Under the current legislative framework there is no reason for this not to continue when the PRA takes over its functions. I am struggling to see what it is that adds any substance to the current arrangements. The Government have brought forward an amendment, which is—and I hate to use this term—window dressing.

My Lords, I assure you that it is not window dressing. I am not sure how much I can add for the benefit of my noble friend other than what I have said already. It is important to think about these amendments in the context of what the FRC and BIS are doing, and also to recognise that hardwiring the code of conduct into legislation in the way that I have described does considerably more than window dressing. Over time, we will be able to prove the scepticism of my noble friends to have been misplaced. I agree that this is a matter that will not go away, and we should and will, as Treasury and Government, keep these matters high on our list of things to be watched.

Amendment 105A agreed.

Amendments 105B to 105D

Moved by

105B: Schedule 13, page 289, line 17, leave out sub-paragraph (4) and insert—

“(4) For subsection (3) substitute—

“(3A) The PRA—

(a) must make rules imposing on auditors of PRA-authorised persons such duties as may be specified in relation to co-operation with the PRA in connection with the supervision by the PRA of PRA-authorised persons, and(b) may make rules—(i) imposing such other duties on auditors of PRA-authorised persons as may be specified, and(ii) imposing such duties on actuaries acting for PRA-authorised persons as may be specified.(3B) The FCA may make rules imposing on auditors of, or actuaries acting for, authorised persons other than PRA-authorised persons such duties as may be specified.””

105C: Schedule 13, page 289, line 20, at end insert—

“( ) In subsection (5), for “(3)” substitute “(3A) or (3B)”.”

105D: Schedule 13, page 289, leave out lines 25 to 28 and insert—

“( ) In subsection (6), for “(3)” substitute “(3B)”.”

Amendments 105B to 105D agreed.

Clause 42 : Provisions about consumer protection and competition

Amendments 105E to 105G not moved.

Amendment 106

Moved by

106: Clause 42, page 134, line 13, at end insert—

“234GA Complaints and proceedings: collective actions and redress

The Treasury and Secretary of State shall within three months of the passing of this Act shall bring forward proposals—(a) to introduce provisions for collective proceedings before the court in respect of financial service claims made by consumers; such proceedings to provide for both ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ procedures;(b) to introduce provision for collective proceedings before the court in respect of financial service claims made by small and medium sized businesses; and such proceedings to provide for both ‘opt in’ and ‘opt out’ procedures;(c) to introduce provision for complaints made by or on behalf of consumers or by or on behalf of small and medium sized businesses to the FCA that a feature, or combination of features, of a market in the United Kingdom for financial services is, or appears to be, damaging to the interests of small business or significant groups of consumers.”

My Lords, with most of this Bill being about regulators and the whole structure of regulation, I am returning to a proposition which would in due course return some power and leverage to consumers directly. As we just heard from my noble friend Lord Kennedy of Southwark and others speaking on claims management companies, it is often the case that in widespread abuse by financial services operators a common issue between a number of consumers, often a very large number of them, is that the process of seeking any redress is lengthy and complicated if conducted on an individual basis. It is also open to the intervention of the rougher end of the CMC market, which manages simultaneously to exploit the consumers and the providers.

In Committee, I tried to do the Government’s work for them and offered them an easy way of taking on board a system of collective action and redress by consumers. I proposed a fairly detailed set of amendments, which were almost precisely the same as those that were included in the 2010 Bill, that were dropped without debate in the wash-up prior to the general election. At that time, I proposed that various amendments should immediately be adopted by the Government. They had cleared the Treasury hurdle. They had cleared the hurdle of parliamentary counsel and could have been adopted.

The Government resisted that, and I am suggesting that we push it back to the Government to come up with an alternative version. I am giving them more flexibility to draw up their proposals, so this amendment would require them to come up with secondary legislation which would effectively give collective redress and action provisions for consumers in the financial area three months after the passage of this Act. To give them more time would probably not be sensible, given that had these provisions existed before the great PPI scandal, a lot of it would have been resolved by now.

In the last debate in Committee, the Minister referred in rather Delphic terms to a more general approach to collective redress for consumers, which was being considered by his sister department, BIS, in its approach to consumer affairs. He did so in a way which implied that it was probably going to act on that in the near future. It is true that BIS has included collective action and redress in its consultation paper on the consumer landscape. Now, we have before this House a Bill from BIS dealing with enterprise and regulatory reform, which has not a word about consumer protection and certainly none about the ability of consumers to engage in collective redress. This is in marked contrast to the determination rapidly to reduce protection for employees in that Bill. Consumers hardly get a look in.

I come back to the need for particular provisions in this Bill for the financial sector. There is an additional point in this amendment, which was not in my previous amendment, but was in an amendment proposed at that stage by my noble friend Lady Hayter. It is that this provision for collective action should also apply to small businesses. Like individual consumers, they are often faced with mis-selling or other misbehaviour by financial services, which affect a large number of small businesses, but which would be expensive and time-consuming for any individual business to pursue. If there were a framework, whether on an opt-in or opt-out basis, for small firms to take action against the financial institution or institutions, again their detriment could be met much more rapidly. Hence, I am proposing that the Government cover them within this review, with the requirement to report back and present regulations in three months’ time.

I hope that the Government at the very least accept a need to move in this direction either individually in respect of the financial sector, which has some peculiarities, or more generally. If it is to be done solely on the financial services front at this stage, then perhaps they could accept my amendment as it stands and we will in due course receive the regulations. If they want to move more broadly, I would welcome that, but I have received no indication as yet that the Minister’s colleagues are proposing in any very near-time dimension to bring such broader provisions forward. I hope that either the amendment can be accepted or that we will have a firm commitment to broader action in the near future. I beg to move.

My Lords, I support the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Whitty. To some extent, the third arm of this amendment has been partially agreed by the Government, in that their proposed criteria for designating super-complaints to the FCA include representatives of SMEs—although they wisely exclude authorised bodies from this category. I have two questions to pose.

First, what is the timescale for the designation of SMEs as super-complainants? In his response in Committee, as my noble friend Lord Whitty has just reminded us, the Minister, Lord Newby, said that the Government hoped,

“to publish their response”—

to the consultation—

“before the end of the year”.—[Official Report, 15/10/12; col. 1351.]

Unless the Minister is to forego his Christmas holiday altogether, this is going to stretch even his capabilities, as responses to the super-complaint issue are due only on Christmas Eve. Amendment 106 adds a timescale to the exercise. Perhaps he could either give a definite date or accept the timescale suggested by my noble friend Lord Whitty. There is some urgency to this. The FSA estimates that more than 40,000 interest-rate swaps were mis-sold to small businesses. It is silly for each of them to have to take individual action over this, so only collective cases will satisfy. We see no reason why each individual or firm must make a separate claim. I cannot see why the onus should not be on the banks, which are the major mis-sellers, to write to those to whom they have mis-sold and repay the monies due to them. We understand that some banks have now agreed to do this, but faster action is required. We hear that ominous noise of foot-dragging. Small businesses simply cannot carry this unwarranted expenditure; they need a more rapid remedy.

My second question relates partly also to Amendments 105E, 105F and 105G, which deal with super-complaints with profits. As the Government have moved some of that oversight to the jurisdiction of the FCA, our original request was superfluous and we shall not press those amendments. However, the question remains how either individuals or SMEs can pursue, through their representatives’ use of a super-complaint, market failures where these relate to the bit of the banks’ activity that is under the PRA’s remit.

As noble Lords will recall, the Government have resisted our attempts to have any channel of communication between the Financial Services Consumer Panel and the PRA. Nor will they have access to super-complaints to the PRA and the collective action suggested by my noble friend Lord Whitty. It rather smacks of the banks’ regulator being deaf to alleged failures in any of the banks serving the needs of their customers.

Hitherto, the Government have suggested that all such representations can be made through the FCA, even though it will have no responsibility for PRA areas and even though it will have a wider remit than just the interests of one group of clients. It will anyway be very much at arm’s length from actual consumers. The issue remains of how collective action can be taken, particularly with respect to banks. Can the Minister therefore offer some reassurance that the PRA, in its regulation of banks and with the new Governor in place, will keep the interests of consumers central to its thinking and policy, so that further consumer detriment does not arise?

My Lords, we of course accept that consumers, including small to medium-sized enterprises, should have appropriate access to redress in respect of financial services as much as to everything else.

On collective proceedings in the financial services sector, we are as we said in Committee awaiting the outcome of the BIS consultation on private actions in competition law, which considers introducing an opt-out collective actions regime for competition law. We shall see what the implications may be for the financial services sector. The Government are hoping to publish their response to that consultation around the end of the year.

If the Government conclude that it is appropriate to legislate more specifically for financial services, any proposals must be the result of evidence-based analysis, taking into account the conclusions of the consultation into private actions in competition law, and they must also be subject to proper consultation.

On super-complaints more generally, which were covered by the amendment, I remind the House that the Bill already provides for designated consumer bodies to make complaints to the FCA. This may include representatives of business consumers provided that they are not authorised persons. The Government are already consulting on the criteria that the Treasury should apply when designating consumer bodies for this purpose and have made clear their intention to designate bodies which represent primarily the interests of retail consumers or SMEs as super-complainants. There is no further provision to allow this.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, asked when SMEs would be designated, to which the answer is: by 1 April next year. She also asked about dealing with complaints relating to the banks in respect of PRA matters. The FCA is the lead body. One makes one’s representation to the FCA. As we have discussed many times, there is a raft of areas where the FCA and the PRA have joint responsibility, and MoUs will deal with that. It therefore seems much more logical to have just one body which is responsible for this kind of complaint and then deals with it as it would deal with other complaints, working closely with the PRA as necessary.

The Government agree with everything that has been said about the importance of the issue. We do not reject outright the idea of collective proceedings in the financial services sector; what we do reject is the proposal that we should legislate now on this matter without considering fully the evidence as to what the implications of changing the law would be. The Government have already committed to consider the implications of the BIS consultation for the financial services sector and we do not want to pre-empt that. In the light of that, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

My Lords, I am tempted to reflect that in the difficult, dying days of the previous Administration, the Treasury—contrary to its previous history—was prepared to go ahead of the game in relation to consumers’ rights. Under Alistair Darling, it was prepared to propose in the 2010 Bill, which was attenuated in view of the general election, very substantial provision for collective redress. It is a pity that, under new management, the Treasury is being more diffident and unusually deferential to BIS in this respect. Under BIS and its predecessor departments, all of us who have been involved in the consumer movement know that this issue of collective redress has been kicking around for at least 20 years under various guises and that the department has still not yet come up with a very firm proposition.

Nevertheless, I am glad that the Minister is now saying that we will see the result of BIS’s considerations before Christmas. I hope that we will therefore see these if not in the enterprise Bill that is already here, which would be a very convenient vehicle, then in an early Bill from BIS. Also, because of the—if you like—scandals in the financial services area, it might have been better had the financial services and their regulators moved more rapidly.

I will not take this to a vote tonight. However, I suspect that, if they are not careful, Ministers might regret not having these provisions on the statute book at an earlier date. However, if this is the situation, I beg leave to withdraw and, with this one, wish the Government luck.

Amendment 106 withdrawn.

Amendments 106ZA and 106ZB not moved.

Schedule 14 : Amendments of Part 24 of FSMA 2000: insolvency

Amendments 106A to 106E

Moved by

106A: Schedule 14, page 296, leave out line 39 and insert—

“(2) For subsection (2) substitute—

“(2) If the administrator thinks that the company or partnership is carrying on, or has carried on—

(a) a regulated activity in contravention of the general prohibition, or(b) a credit-related regulated activity in contravention of section 20,the administrator must report the matter to the appropriate regulator without delay.””

106B: Schedule 14, page 298, line 36, at end insert—

“( ) in paragraph (b), after “prohibition” insert “or a credit-related regulated activity in contravention of section 20””

106C: Schedule 14, page 301, leave out lines 14 to 22 and insert—

“18 For section 370 substitute—

“370 Liquidator’s duty to report to FCA and PRA

(1) If—

(a) a company is being wound up voluntarily or a body is being wound up on a petition presented by any person, and(b) it appears to the liquidator that the company or body is carrying on, or has carried on— (i) a regulated activity in contravention of the general prohibition, or(ii) a credit-related regulated activity in contravention of section 20,the liquidator must report the matter without delay to the FCA and, if the regulated activity concerned is a PRA-regulated activity, to the PRA.””

106D: Schedule 14, page 301, leave out line 28

106E: Schedule 14, page 302, line 28, at end insert—

“( ) in paragraph (b), for the words from “carried on” to the end substitute “carried on—(i) a regulated activity in contravention of the general prohibition, or(ii) a credit-related regulated activity in contravention of section 20”,”

Amendments 106A to 106E agreed.

Clause 47 : Interpretation of FSMA 2000

Amendment 106F

Moved by

106F: Clause 47, page 135, line 19, at end insert—

“( ) after that definition insert—““credit-related regulated activity” has the meaning given in section 23(1B);””

Amendment 106F agreed.

Clause 48 : Parliamentary control of statutory instruments

Amendments 107 and 107A

Moved by

107: Clause 48, page 136, line 43, after “3B(4),” insert “3F(6),”

107A: Clause 48, page 137, line 6, after “22B” insert “or 23A”

Amendments 107 and 107A agreed.

House adjourned at 7.21 pm.