HL Deb 10 December 1986 vol 482 c1149

2.54 p.m.

Lord Williams of Elvel

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied with the current arrangements for the exchange of information between regulating authorities on malpractices in the securities markets.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Lucas of Chilworth)

My Lords, we have brought into force provisions in the Financial Services Act 1986 allowing United Kingdom regulators to exchange certain information with regulators overseas. We have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States authorities, and the Government have made clear to the regulators in other countries that they are ready to discuss arrangements to exchange regulatory information. In pursuit of this we have now invited the regulators of a number of the world's most important securities markets to a meeting to explore the scope for further co-operation.

Lord Williams of Elvel

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his response. I should like to ask him whether he is aware that we welcome this initiative, as these are criminal activities which can shelter behind different legislative and regulatory arrangements in different countries, although the effect will be felt in the United Kingdom. Would the Minister agree with the Financial Times leader this morning which argues that there should be a body such as OECD to supervise the interchange of information? Would the Minister also agree with the Financial Times that the main objective at the moment is to sign a biltateral agreement with Japan? Will he also tell the House what hope he has of breaking down Swiss banking secrecy?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, for his very warm welcome for the initiatives that have already been taken, However, I cannot agree entirely with the article in today's newspaper which the noble Lord quoted. I can tell the noble Lord that discussions are currently in progress—and I mean currently in progress—with the Japanese authorities.

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