This discussion paper was produced by a Working Party in April 1997 to put forward some possible ways of improving the United Kingdom financial regulatory process. It was written to contribute to the expected post General Election debate on this topic. Although the new Government announced plans in May 1997 for a new Securities and Investment Board (SIB) with statutory powers, this has not reduced the value of this discussion paper which raises some wider issues on methods of regulation.
The paper excludes the supervision and regulation of banks, building societies, insurance companies and exchanges and concentrates on areas that directly affect the public on an ongoing basis. It looks at the expectations of the main parties involved in regulation, the theory and practice of regulation, opportunities and concerns, and concludes with a summary of key issues for discussion. The thrust of the paper is that self regulation should be replaced by statutory regulation and that the present ‘prescriptive’ regulatory process should be replaced by one based on ‘outcomes’ supported by guidance.