Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Financial Services Inquiry

My contribution to part of the Economy, Energy & Tourism Committee's Financial Services Inquiry is below.  I hope you find it of interest.

Rob Gibson (Highlands & Islands) (SNP): The discussion that the Which? commission started is a good template for looking at the issue from the consumer point of view. However, amid all the views of commentators on the subject, I am still baffled by how the restructuring of the banks can be achieved. The nub of the argument seems to be about making commercial banks more competitive, but that fails to answer the question about where they will get their assets from in order to be able to lend. If we look back to models from the 1990s and earlier, we can see that the balance between debt and deposits was much more equal. However, in this day and age, how are we going to get from where we are to where might be a good place to be? I would like us to develop that issue.

The second point that I would like us to consider is how UK Financial Investments is operating. It was clear that the future of banking commission was unhappy with it, as we were, and we need to keep a watching brief on ways in which we can encourage it to be more proactive, because its hands-off approach has not worked from the point of view of the consumer in Scotland.

Numerous proposals have been made about remuneration. I do not know whether we will see anything of that sort from the wider banking commission that the UK Government is creating, but I would like us to have an input and to think about the matter in more detail. Given the ideas that we heard from Angus Tulloch and others about ethics and banking, and the suggestion in the Which? report about having a code of conduct in the banking industry, we should look to make an input to the UK commission about the Scottish experience.

Lewis Macdonald: I agree with much of what Rob Gibson said.

No comments: