Draft Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2001

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Mr. Flight: As I said, the points that I raised are not huge material issues—but the Minister's response will leave some practical problems. My understanding is that the FSA is likely to interpret that difficult territory in accordance with common sense. It is difficult to draft legislation that separates out undesirable promotions covering both the UK and overseas—I mentioned the increasingly international nature of securities firms—without leaving genuine international communications disadvantaged in some way.

As I have said before, the main concern is that the 2000 Act should not inadvertently do anything to damage competitiveness and the free flow of business between the UK and elsewhere. Substantial progress has been made since it was enacted, and we will not vote against the order. However, although the Minister's responses explained why the provisions are as they are, they did not address some of the practical problems that will arise. Presumably, those will be left for the FSA to deal with.

Miss Johnson: I shall respond in general terms to the hon. Gentleman's point. It is fair to say that there has been a little more change in this area than in others, although in my opening remarks I also emphasised continuity. There is much to be done by everyone involved, and we shall see how these matters work out. I am sure that the FSA will operate with a dose of common sense, as the hon. Gentleman, giving it the benefit of the doubt, said. I am sure that that is right, but wherever we set a boundary or give a definition, there will always be cases that require careful consideration to determine which side of the line they fall. Generally speaking, the FSA will provide guidance for firms, including its interpretation of Parliament's wishes. I am sure that common sense will prevail.

I conclude by expressing, for the record, my pleasure at the support that the hon. Gentleman's opening remarks gave to the changes that have been made to the order.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the draft Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2001.

        Committee rose at eighteen minutes past Five o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Butterfill, Mr. John (Chairman)
Allen, Mr.
Atkins, Charlotte
Blunt, Mr.
Cotter, Mr.
Flight, Mr.
Healey, Mr.
Hoyle, Mr.
Johnson, Miss Melanie
McNamara, Mr.
Pollard, Mr.

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Prepared 26 March 2001