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Lord Saatchi: I am pleased to hear that the Minister is willing to encourage the FSA to keep such records. I am surprised that, after all this time, this vast organisation finds it impossible to publish a record of the names of the people whom it regulates, particularly as one of its main functions is to provide reassurance to the public that people who are authorised persons or approved persons are people with whom it is safe to do business. Therefore, I find it strange that the FSA cannot cope with the administrative burden of compiling a list of names of those whom it regulates. We shall probably return to this issue. I am slightly taken aback by the answer.

Lord Elton: Can the Minister be specific as to what the difficulty is? As almost everything is done electronically nowadays, surely when somebody is approved and the computer has the correct program, that name will appear on the public list on the website. Now that we have done away with paper, I believe that instantaneous publication is possible and that there is no difficulty.

Lord Bach: I fear that the noble Lord is much too optimistic. Approved persons are employees and they change on a regular basis. Apart from that, I have nothing to add to the reply that I have given.

Lord Sharman: Perhaps the Minister can clarify this matter. It is surprising that the FSA cannot maintain

30 Mar 2000 : Column 1014

such records. It must know who these individuals are as it is responsible for approving them. Professional bodies do not seem to find it a great problem, so I cannot believe that it is insurmountable.

Lord Elton: I see that the noble Lord is not inclined to answer that point, so I shall try to tempt him further. If an approved person cannot practise without approval, he cannot practise without the knowledge of the authorising body, and the authorising body cannot give approval without knowing who the individual is. Therefore, I believe that my question is relevant. In typing out the information, "You have approval", one can cause it to appear in a public list at the same time as it is put in the letter to be posted. I accept that all computers have difficulties--none more so than the ones with which I am concerned personally. I hope that I have now given the noble Lord a chance to reply to the question.

Lord Bach: I do not believe that I am going to satisfy the noble Lord with an answer tonight. Difficulties are involved. There would be the need to include details of the person, the employer, the functions that he carries out and the type of regulated activities. At present, all that is just not possible. I could give an unrealistic answer and suggest that it was, but it is not. It is for that reason that we do not accept the amendment.

The Earl of Home: Before my noble friend replies, I must declare an interest as chairman of Coutts & Company. I am puzzled by this. We have all that information on our files and it is available to the FSA on a regular basis. I cannot see why any institution cannot tell the FSA when someone comes or goes.

Lord Bach: I have heard the debate. The FSA will read it. It may be that we shall hear more about this matter before the Bill finishes its course in this House.

Lord Saatchi: That is not the answer that I was expecting and I have not said what I expected to say. The Minister's reply is so unsatisfactory and inexplicable that I should like to test the opinion of the Committee.

9.41 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 263A) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 57.

Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Alexander of Weedon, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Byford, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elton, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Glentoran, L.
Home, E.
Howe, E.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lyell, L.
Northbrook, L. [Teller]
Northesk, E. [Teller]
Saatchi, L.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Sharman, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Taverne, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Borrie, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Gale, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Howells of St Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Sawyer, L.
Simon, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitty, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

30 Mar 2000 : Column 1015

9.51 p.m.

[Amendment No. 263B not moved.]

Clause 337 agreed to.

Clause 338 [Restrictions on disclosure of confidential information by Authority etc.]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 264:


    Page 178, line 15, at end insert--


("( ) a competent person appointed by the competent authority under section (Appointment by competent authority of persons to carry out investigations);").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 338, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 339 to 342 agreed to.

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 265:


    After Clause 342, insert the following new clause--

AUTHORITY'S DUTY TO CO-OPERATE WITH OTHERS

(" .--(1) The Authority must take such steps as it considers appropriate to co-operate with other persons (whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) who have functions--
(a) similar to those of the Authority, or
(b) in relation to the prevention or detection of financial crime.
(2) Co-operation may include the sharing of information which the Authority is not prevented from disclosing.
(3) "Financial crime" has the same meaning as in section 6.").

30 Mar 2000 : Column 1016

The noble Lord said: On behalf of my noble friend I should like to move Amendment No. 265. This amendment will place a duty on the Financial Services Authority to take such steps as it considers appropriate to co-operate and share information with other bodies or persons. These bodies or persons can be in the UK or elsewhere, as long as they have a function broadly similar to that of the Financial Services Authority or they have a role in relation to the prevention or detection of financial crime.

The amendment carries forward the provision in paragraph 5 of Schedule 7 to the Financial Services Act 1986 which places a similar duty on the authority. I am sure that this amendment will be welcomed by noble Lords opposite, given the remarks made by the Opposition in another place about the need for effective information sharing and co-operation in order to combat financial crime. I beg to move.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: As the noble Lord has anticipated, this amendment is welcome. While looking at the legal luminaries ranged on the Government Back Benches behind the noble Lord, I should like to ask one question. Although the clause is desirable, does the noble Lord believe that subsection (2) adds anything to the provision? Does it not add only somewhat otiose, redundant and unnecessary verbiage to the Bill?

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My query concerns the relationship of this clause to the Data Protection Act. When the 1986 Act just referred to by the noble Lord was introduced, the Data Protection Act was not on the statute book. However, that Act carries all kinds of restrictions on what may be disclosed. Are all the details simply swept up in the phrase, "not prevented from disclosing"? If that is the case, it seems to me that those are only a very few words to cover what may be a large swathe of information. I should be grateful for a little clarification on this point.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: It would be most helpful if the noble Lord could give some consideration to the European dimension here. As he will know, a wide range of moves are presently taking place in the European Union to try to take further steps in the prevention and detection of financial crime. I hope that this new clause will enable that kind of co-operation to gather strength. However, a problem may arise in that each national jurisdiction still retains its own individual rights to prosecute.

As regards financial crime which crosses a number of boundaries, it would be helpful if the Minister could mention the latest discussions on this matter within the European Commission and the European Union. I believe that this clause will fit in neatly with some of the initiatives being taken at the present time.


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