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European Financial Services Proposals

December 1, 2009

Competition: The Ultimate Consumer

Mark made a number of contributions to a debate on European Financial Services Proposals:

Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster, Conservative)

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend on the alternative investment directive. Is not the bigger criticism of it, however, that it simply betrayed, among those in the European Union who are attempting to introduce it, a lack of understanding about the role of asset management and, indeed, its non-role in the credit crunch and financial crisis that we have faced over the past two years? Whatever other problems there may have been, hedge funds and private equity have not been responsible for any systemic problems that that directive and others have tried to address.

Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster, Conservative)

I entirely accept what my hon. Friend says, but does he not agree with the thrust of the point made by my hon. Friend Mr. Cash? If, rather than consulting often self-appointed market bodies notionally representing dozens or hundreds of members, one asks the market practitioners who have to deal day to day with the impact of much of this legislation, which may derive from our own Parliament as well as from Europe, one finds that they are much more concerned and can see the disadvantages. It could almost be said that one of the benefits of being in opposition is being able to talk to market practitioners instead of hearing from on high about the various benefits that such new legislation, directives and regulations may have.

Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster, Conservative)

I agree entirely with the last passage of my hon. Friend’s speech. I also agree, with foreboding, that the red lines to which the Exchequer Secretary referred are likely to be largely illusory. Does my hon. Friend agree that a more sensible approach to constructing red lines-if we are to go down that path-would be to say that regulation should be dealt with at the European level and the supervisory element entirely at a national level? The overlap is obvious between a European and national supervisor. The supervision element should be entirely in national hands. That would be a sensible red line, if one is to be fought over tomorrow and in the negotiations in the months and, potentially, years ahead.