UK Finance Ministry Nixes Veto Proposal Over Regulators

A proposal that would have allowed Britain’s finance ministry to overturn decisions made by financial regulators has been removed from a bill that is now moving through Parliament. 

This “intervention power” had been proposed in October by U.K. financial services minister Andrew Griffith but was delayed this month and has now been dropped from the Financial Services and Markets Bill, Reuters reported Wednesday (Nov. 23). 

“Having consulted further, we are of the view that the existing provisions in the bill are currently sufficient and will already allow us to seize the opportunities of Brexit by tailoring financial services regulation to U.K. markets to bolster our competitiveness,” Griffith said Wednesday, per the report. 

The bill in which the proposal had been included comes at a time when the U.K. can write its own financial rules, after having left the European Union (EU). 

The now-dropped provision was opposed by regulators, who said it would politicize rulemaking. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said it would threaten the competitiveness of the financial sector and harm efforts to enhance its reputation, the report said. 

The bill that is now moving through Parliament leaves the final decision on any change to the rules to financial services regulators, while also allowing ministers to ask them to review a rule, according to the report. 

In related news, it was reported Monday (Nov. 21) that, as it currently stands, the proposed Financial Services and Markets Bill will give the Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) a new mandate to protect access to cash services across the U.K. 

The new legislation is deemed important because bank branches and ATMs in the U.K. have been closing at a significant rate in recent years, a similar trend occurring across Europe that has led to countries like Sweden and Spain passing similar laws.