The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union has published a transcript of oral evidence by Chris Woolard, FCA director of strategy and competition, taken from a hearing on 10 October 2017 on consumer protection rights in relation to Brexit.
Among other things Mr Woolard refers to certain principles the FCA thinks are really important in the context of the Brexit. First, the FCA believes fundamentally that, for market conditions to work well for consumers, open markets provide the best possible outcome. For healthy competition to exist, some degree of cross border market must still occur post Brexit. Second, the FCA would support globally consistent standards for financial services regulation. This is an important part of dealing with markets that are, in themselves, global. Thirdly, the FCA believes strongly in the co-operation between regulatory authorities that will need to occur, both member state to member state and UK to pan-European bodies. The FCA feels that the best way of achieving this is by having a robust framework in place for it to occur in, which means that continued co-operation can still occur.
When asked whether the FCA is seeking reciprocation Mr Woolard responds as follows:
“We certainly need a workable arrangement on how we deal with other regulatory bodies day to day. That could include a degree of reciprocity, but it is mainly about how we deal with each other. That bites the most in that, from our perspective, the UK still needs to play a role in driving international standards. Clearly, the forum for us to do that in is more in bodies such as IOSCO and the FSB rather than Europe itself. Built within that is the sense of how you make these cross-border arrangements work in practical terms.
“We have also said to the Treasury Select Committee that access to a skilled market workforce is still incredibly important for competition in the UK market. Underlying all that is my sixth point, which supports the first point: it is going to be critical for consumer contracts to continue to have a mechanism by which they can work across borders.”
In his concluding remarks Mr Woolard states:
“The main thing I would leave you with is a point I have made a number of times here. We sit in a global regime. We want markets in the UK, particularly in London, to work well. That strength will be maintained in the long term and consumers will have a good choice of financial services products if those markets are well regulated and meet international norms. A race to the bottom is ultimately in no one’s interest and we are working towards the scenario where, on the other side of this, we still have a financial services system that works well and services UK consumers.”
View Evidence relating to Brexit from House of Lords Select Committee on European Union, 12 October 2017