On 11th November 2015 the House of Lords considered amendments in committee to the Government’s Bank of England and Financial Services Bill. Continue reading “Bank of England and Financial Services Bill – Bishop of Southwark speaks against amendment on ‘reverse burden of proof’”
On the 6th July 2015 Baroness Wheatcroft asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether the effects of algorithmic trading are being monitored and sufficiently regulated”. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster asked a supplementary question.
“at the same time as we are counselling people not to take on unsustainable debt, the Treasury is proposing to let the national debt free of past restraints. It seems that there is one rule for citizens and another for public authorities. That is the moral corruption of a time such as this.” – Rt Rev John Gladwin, 3/11/08
On 5th December 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury led a debate on the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, of which he was a member from 2012-2013. The Bishop of Birmingham also took part in the debate, and his remarks can be read here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, your Lordships are asked to take note of the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. I speak not only on my behalf but on that of some of the commissioners who, for various reasons, cannot be here. I should add that it is coincidental and owing to constraints of the diary that this debate falls so neatly between Report and the Third Reading next week of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill. I am particularly looking forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington of Fulham. I am sure his contribution will be significant given his vast experience in another place, especially on the Treasury Select Committee.
“More competition can be seen in the regional banks that may be emerging. From my own interest in the Church Commissioners, I know that the proposed Williams & Glyn’s Bank, which is emerging from the 300 RBS branches, may have an opportunity to demonstrate how to be a good bank in the terms that we have already heard about, but at the same time that it will be freed from some of the responsibilities of the bigger banks and respond to people’s needs locally.”
On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Birmingham took part in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s debate on the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. You can read the Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches here.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I welcome warmly the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, to your Lordships’ House and congratulate him on a most succinct but wise and constructive maiden speech. His knowledge of finance and banking is exemplary. We have already heard from my friend the most reverend Primate of the noble Lord’s service in the other place, notably as chair of the Treasury Committee. He also brings a wealth of experience in banking. The particular bank mentioned, Gatehouse, of which he is deputy chairman, has this remarkable attention to Islamic finance. As someone who serves in Birmingham, that is of course well known and much appreciated.
On 26th and 27th November 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, took part in both sittings of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill’s Report Stage.
On the first day of the Report Stage, he spoke about the need for the new ring-fencing structures to be supported by a ‘second reserve power’ which would give the regulator the power to fully separate all banks in the industry if one or more banks were gaming the new rules. He led a group of amendments on behalf of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which would institute a rigorous licensing regime for significant bank employees who are not senior management. He also spoke about the need for specific measures to be developed to ensure that banks and their employees complied with anti-money laundering laws.
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke twice during the second and final day of Report Stage. He spoke in support of Amendment 164, tabled by Lord Phillips of Sudbury, which would require a review to be undertaken into the current exemptions some banks and similar institutions enjoy from the Gaming Acts, on transactions which could be understood as gambling. He suggested that a review should examine what impact he current situation has on the culture in these institutions. He also led the debate on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards’ amendment on leverage ratios. He highlighted the important role that the leverage ratio plays in the ‘tool-kit’ available to the Bank of England, and warmly welcomed the Government’s announcement that the Bank of England would undertake a review into its powers to set the leverage ratio and make recommendations on what further powers it may need.
“In the wake of the economic debacles following 2008, one of the greatest areas of concern among the public was the apparent lack of change in the financial fortunes of those whom they viewed as being most responsible for the banking crisis.”
On 23rd October 2013, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke during the Committee Stage of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill. He spoke in support of an amendment tabled by Lord Turnbull, to require that banks and other financial institutions abide by a ‘remuneration code’, implemented and enforced by the financial regulator. The amendment, based on a recommendation by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, was not pressed to a vote during Committee Stage.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I rise to speak on behalf of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. He regrets very much that he cannot be in his seat today, but it is seldom that one has the opportunity to offer Christian baptism to a young couple, particularly when their child is a future heir to the throne of this country. None the less, I know that he, like me, would want to echo the support for these amendments, which have been spoken to by the noble Lords, Lord Turnbull and Lord Eatwell. In a sense, I now regret that I am here doing my duty, because I could not have put it better myself.
In the wake of the economic debacles following 2008, one of the greatest areas of concern among the public was the apparent lack of change in the financial fortunes of those whom they viewed as being most responsible for the banking crisis. As we have heard, the salaries of senior bankers seem to remain high and bonus levels have quickly regained their old levels, while for many ordinary people and ordinary businesses across the country, it has been a matter of tightening the belt and looking very seriously at difficult household and commercial budget decisions. The submission of the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council to the banking commission said of this disparity between what I am going to talk about as two cultures that it,
“has gravely harmed the public perception of banking”. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham supports amendment to Banking Reform Bill”
On 15th October 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke during the Committee Stage of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill. He spoke in support of an amendment tabled by Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Phillips of Sudbury, which sought to require a review to be undertaken into the current exemptions some banks and similar institutions enjoy from the Gaming Acts, on transactions which could be understood as gambling. Following the debate on the amendment, it was withdrawn.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am slightly surprised that the Minister should be resistant to what seems to me a very reasonable amendment. One of the dangers that we have faced in the markets over many years is that of parallel markets. The derivatives markets are, as we know, opaque, as has already been remarked on, and we examined them in some detail in the banking standards commission. The computer-driven markets are also very opaque. We examined those markets and remarked that they would constitute the next great crash. When you have these gambling markets on the side that no one quite understands or knows who is participating in them, and which often take place offshore, it seems to me that at the very least there are grounds to hold an inquiry into the effect they are having on market prices through their impact on the shadow market—we should also examine the psychology of the dealers—and on those involved directly in the more regulated market. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury backs calls for review into gambling in the financial sector”
“I and my colleagues on these Benches trust that the industry will wholeheartedly embrace a professional standards process, with independent leadership and all the practical things that we will talk about in the next few minutes and days; and that step by step—with any necessary amendments to the Bill and a full adoption in the autumn of the parliamentary commission’s recommendations—we will all take responsibility for achieving a healthy, vigorous, profitable and accessible but virtuous banking system.”
On 24th July 2013, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill. He welcomed the practical themes in the bill and the opportunity it provided to develop structures with a new culture that would enable the common good to develop in society.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Eatwell, for his kind remarks about members of the banking commission who sit in this House, not least my friend the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, sadly, is not in his place today but fully intends to be so many times in the autumn when the commission’s work will be discussed in this House in more detail. Perhaps I can partially stand in his place as we spent many years in different parts of the oil industry before entering another sort of multinational work.
We appreciate the practical themes in the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill and the opportunity that it provides to implement the recommendations of the Vickers report and, more recently, of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. As the Community Investment Coalition put it, the Bill provides an opportunity,
“for Britain to continue as a leading global financial centre, while at the same time protecting ordinary working people”.
I thought that that conveyed rather well the complexity of the issues with which we are dealing. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham speaks in debate on Banking Reform Bill”
On the 13th May 2013 the Bishop of Birmingham responded to the Queens Speech focusing on the areas of unemployment, business and the economy. The Bishop welcomed proposals for economic development and investment in transport which he hope would bring benefits to Birmingham and the wider region. He hoped the Government would tackle three areas, youth unemployment, personal debt and banking reform, quoting former Archbishop William Temple he urged the Government to “Give us the tools in the regions and we will finish the job”. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Queen’s Speech addressing reforms of business, employment and economics”