Last week, Richard spoke in the Second Reading of the Financial Services Bill in the House of Commons.
In his speech, Richard welcomed the opportunity for the Bill to define the role of the financial services sector, not just as world-leading but to ensure it contributes to the wider British economy as we seize the opportunities from leaving the EU. Richard also touched on the need for effective regulation in relation, in particular with regard to protecting vulnerable customers. He also welcomes the steps the Minister presented in providing criminal sanction for those who misuse their powers or rights in the financial sector, noting that one of the issues from the financial crisis was the lack of criminal sanction for the people who broke the law and the effectiveness with which criminal sanction could be brought to bear on those who misused their position in financial services.
Commenting, Richard said: "I welcome this Bill, but it is important to have regulation that is effective and promotes competition and innovation rather than entrenching established interests. One of my concerns about the Bill is that we might be putting too much reliance on regulatory agencies while there is too little parliamentary oversight of them as we do not have the necessary mechanisms in thei Parliament. I urged the Minister to consider that as the Bill progresses."
In the debate, Richard added: "What concerns me, on the day when we are celebrating the Pfizer vaccine, is that in our zealousness for us to impose regulations, we forget that the innovations of private sector companies left to their own devices often provide the best outcomes for the people of our country and around the world. Pfizer directly refused any Government assistance because it did not want the regulation and bureaucratic hand-holding that came with it.
"Sometimes we feel that the private sector is unable to deliver things that are a public good, but the truth of the matter is that most public goods are delivered either directly or indirectly by the actions of private companies and private citizens, and not by state diktat. The Bill has to provide the underpinning for that principle of deregulation and freedom for innovation, and for the opportunity for us to take advantage of our leaving the European Union. It must not provide a cloud of regulation that makes us feel good when we talk about it but does not actually do what it says when it is brought to test."