FSMB Lords Report stage day 2

Day 2 of the Report stage for the FSM Bill took place on 8 June.

In the first session, the Lords debated clauses including those on:

  • reporting requirements under the competitiveness and growth objective, a Government amendment (amendment 11) that was passed;
  • a financial inclusion objective for the FCA – to which the Government response was that this has been discussed often and the FRF review advised against such a change on the basis that financial inclusion is a broader social policy, and that FCA has its consumer protection objective. The amendment was withdrawn, but the house was put to a vote on a subsequent amendment (18) requiring FCA to have regard to financial inclusion within the consumer protection objective, and this was agreed; and
  • an addition to regulatory objectives to amplify the net zero emissions regulatory principle – this was agreed.

In the second session, clauses debated included:

  • a group of government amendments supporting scrutiny and accountability of the regulators in the absence of the suggested “office for financial regulatory accountability”.  Generally, the government’s willingness to react to previous suggestions was welcomed, and amendments 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 33-35, 37, 43, 46, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54,  and 55 were agreed (and amendment 25, a non-government amendment covering some of the same ground, was withdrawn), as were amendments 56-60 about accountability of the PSR;
  • a group of amendments looking at consultation on rules (amendments 61-63) were also agreed;
  • other amendments up to amendment 72 were not moved, and the debate turned to cash access services, with a government amendment for Schedule 8 to strengthen the requirement for FCA to seek to ensure the reasonable availability of free cash access services. This led on to a wider debate on use of cash. However, the government stance remains that it is not necessary or proportionate to force organisations to accept cash. The government amendments 73 – 77 and 79 were agreed;
  • government amendments in relation to Schedule 11 on central counterparties, amendments 86-89, were agreed; and
  • an amendment to permit FOS to require persons other than eligible complainants to pay fees for complaint investigation – such as CMCs and professional representatives – this was agreed.

The next session is on 13 June.

Emma Radmore