Earlier this week, the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill was debated again in the House of Lords. The reason for our interest in it is that the role of mutuals and the impact of regulation on the sector has been discussed in debates. Last night we had an amendment for discussion to support the mutuals sector.
Lord Naseby (a Conservative Peer) tabled an amendment proposed by the BSA, to ensure that the regulators take financial diversity and the mutual sector into account when carrying out their functions. We armed him with a number of examples. These highlighted where regulation could have adversely affected the sector and or where mutuals were not considered alongside the shareholder plc model if not for swift lobbying attempts.
The amendment was supported right from the start by both the Liberal Democrats and Labour. Following some discussions and tweaks the Government also accepted it and ended up co-signing it. The outcome from last night’s successful vote is that the sector will have legislation that they can use to remind regulators they have a duty to consider corporate diversity in their work going forward. While this will not resolve all the issues overnight, it is the starting point for a continuing conversation with Government and regulators to help them understand the sector better.