To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Serious Fraud Office on allegations relating to (a) systematic undervaluing of properties owned by small businesses and (b) misselling of interest rate swaps.
19 October 2015
Treasury Ministers and officials meet with a wide range of organisations as part of the usual policy making process.
It might be useful to know that the Treasury publishes a list of ministerial meetings with external organisations. This is available online at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/minister_hospitality.htm.
As you are aware, the FCA is an independent non-governmental body responsible for regulating and supervising the financial services industry. Although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services, it has strictly limited powers in relation to the FCA. In particular, the Treasury has no general power of direction over the FCA and cannot intervene in individual cases.
The independence of the FCA is vital to the role it provides as a safety net for consumers with complaints against financial services firms. Their credibility, authority and value to consumers would be undermined if it were possible for the Government to intervene in their decision-making.
The FCA regularly publishes information on the progress of the redress scheme. This can be found here: www.fca.org.uk/consumers/financial-services-products/banking/interest-rate-hedging-products.
You may be aware that the Treasury Select Committee’s report into SME lending, published on 10 March, recommended that the FCA collect the information necessary to establish whether there are systemic failures in the redress scheme. The FCA has responded and the Committee, which published this response on 12 October 2015. It can be found here: www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/treasury/Responses/Financial-Conduct-Authority-response-to-Conduct-and-Competition-in-SME.pdf