§ Mr. Tyrie:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the timing of the N2 + 2 review of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
§ Ruth Kelly:
The Government committed to assessing the impact of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) on competition two years after it came into force in response to the Cruickshank Report on competition in UK banking.
The review will have three main strands. First, a review of the impact of FSMA on competition. This assessment will be carried out by the Office of Fair Trading. Second, changes to aspects of the FSA's practices and consideration of changes to the Financial 676W Ombudsman Service. The FSA's practices to be examined include the complexity of the FSA's Handbook of Rules and Guidance and its cost-benefit analyses. On the Financial Ombudsman Service, among the issues to be considered are whether Ombudsman decisions should be subject to some form of appeal. The third strand will consider changes to the boundary of regulation, including in respect of advice or information provided by employers to employees about workplace pensions and by Citizens Advice Bureaux and similar advice centres to their clients.
I expect all the strands of the two-year review of FSMA to be completed within a year (with the possible exception of the scrutiny by the Office of Fair Trading).
Further information about the two-year review is in the written statement to Parliament that I made on 4 November 2003, Official Report, column 28WS.