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Lord Kingsland: Perhaps I may ask the Minister an orientation question. I believe that in his presentation he dealt with issues of investigations and open-ended investment companies. If not, it is getting very late indeed.
Lord Kingsland: Does it come later? That simplifies my task enormously. I believe, therefore, that I shall speak to only two amendments in this group; that is, Amendments Nos. 254X and 254Y. Do we agree? I must be very careful after my previous errors.
Amendment No. 254X concerns Clause 254. That clause deals with the procedure whereby the authority decides on its own initiative to revoke a direction made by it under Clause 250. Under Clause 256, either the manager or the trustee may apply to have the direction revoked or varied and, as presently drafted, Clause
So far as concerns Amendment No. 254Y, Clause 255 allows the authority to give directions in urgent cases without going through the warning notice procedures. Therefore, as presently drafted, there is no qualification to the authority's power to give a decision notice under Clause 255(1). Amendment No. 254Y would qualify the authority's powers in such circumstances to cases where it is desirable in order to protect the interest of participants or potential participants.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I shall deal, first, with Amendment No. 254X. I quite see that both the manager and the trustee would need to be informed. However, I tried to make the point clearly and effectively that it is conceivable that the application by one of them and the terms of the FSA's written notice might contain information which is confidential to the applicant. Therefore, it might be necessary for the FSA to notify the other party in different terms. The FSA already has the power to do that under subsection (4) by publishing,
Amendment No. 254Y relates to the emergency procedure for the powers of intervention under Clause 250. The amendment would restrict the emergency exercise of the powers to cases in which it is considered that urgency is desirable in order to protect the interests of participants or potential participants. It is not that we disagree with that, but that we believe that it is dealt with by our Amendment No. 254S, which is the replacement for Clause 255. Again, I hope that, on reflection, the noble Lord will feel that we have covered his point.
Lord Jenkin of Roding: Perhaps I may make a remark. I started by trying to listen very carefully to what the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, said in introducing this group of amendments. It is late and he left me behind. I read the notes, which he was kind enough to circulate to me, along with others, over the weekend. They were very condensed.
Perhaps I may put it this way. If a group of bankers or investment brokers had listened to the proceedings in this Committee over the past hour or so and had heard the noble Lord, Lord Bach, replying to the long string of amendments that had been tabled--even
There is enough in this group of amendments for a small Bill which would have merited half a day of discussion, taking them seriatim and recognising that they covered a whole range of different points. They may all be part of a common strategy. But we are rewriting a very large part of the Bill, late at night, in a Committee which is not well attended. How many people would be able to follow this matter?
I believe that this is a monstrous way of trying to legislate for a Bill of this sort. These amendments are being introduced late in the proceedings, long after the Bill started its passage. They will have a profound effect on the way that thousands of people carry out their professional activities in this field.
I hope that the Government will resolve not to impose on the House and on Parliament this kind of procedure and process for legislation. To pretend that we are dealing with it effectively really would be a complete fiction. It cannot be done. I feel that I must protest that we are being hustled along, amid all these complexities. We are dealing with matters in half an hour or an hour which should take half a day. I must protest.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I do not believe that the Committee would appreciate it if I repeated the remarks which I made on the Motion that the House do resolve itself into a Committee at the beginning of this afternoon.
I fully understand the points made not only by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, but also by many other noble Lords. I fully appreciate the difficulties that they have and, indeed, which the Government have in dealing with opposition amendments but I do not complain about that. I fully appreciate that this is not an ideal way in which to consider legislation. I only hope that, in the end, the justification will be that the people outside to whom the noble Lord refers will feel that they have a better Bill as a result.