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financial services lobbying July 10, 2012

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation, lobbying , trackback

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has published a number of articles about lobbying in the financial services context including this one about the FSA’s meetings with trade groups (and here’s the link to the story at the Guardian) which refers to minutes of meetings (which I would love to see). But of course these meetings happened in a context where politicians were telling regulators not to over-regulate, and not to gold-plate EU measures. The directive not to over-regulate came from the same place as Agius’ comments about the competitive international context in which Barclays operates, and trade associations have been dedicating huge amounts of effort for years not just to meeting with politicians and regulators but to developing sophisticated rhetorical and even theoretical arguments to support what they want from regulation. I remember one announcement for an FSA conference which explicitly stated that it would provide an opportunity for regulated firms to interact with their regulator. And, in December 2008 I asked:

whether it is really possible to have effective representation of consumer interests in a structure where the consumer representation is funded by a regulator which is committed to not frightening regulated firms too badly.

On some issues we seem to have moved on a bit from this point. But as to the larger question of how we develop policy in an environment with appropriate levels of scepticism about the arguments financial firms make about regulation, I am not at all sure. And by appropriate levels here I am concerned not only with the risk that regulation may be too lax but also that sometimes it may be too restrictive.

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