UK government announces new laws to protect stock exchange regulation

HONG KONG - Britain will introduce new laws to protect London’s “light touch” approach to regulating stock exchanges, a Treasury minister said on Wednesday.

By (AP)

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Published: Wed 13 Sep 2006, 6:41 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:21 PM

Economic Secretary Ed Balls said the new measures would give the Financial Services Authority powers to prevent any rule changes that would undermine London’s open and global regulatory regime.

The laws will give “regulatory power to the FSA to intervene, not for protectionist reasons but for the opposite: to continue to make sure London is open, global and light-touch,” Balls said at a news briefing in Hong Kong, where he stopped over on his way to an International Monetary Fund meeting in Singapore.

The measure is not meant to put barriers in the way of changes of ownership of the London Stock Exchange, Balls added, responding to recent concern over the issue.

Balls, a longtime ally of Treasury chief Gordon Brown, also said Wednesday he believed himself “highly unlikely” to rise to Brown’s post should Brown become Britain’s next leader.

Balls told reporters he is focusing on his current work and would not speculate on what jobs he would take in the future.

“I think it’s highly unlikely,” he said when asked if he would be the next Treasury chief.

But he didn’t rule out the prospect. “If I do this job well then hopefully I’ll have new jobs in the future,” Balls said.

The minister has spent years working as an aide to Brown, long regarded as Prime Minister Tony Blair’s heir apparent.

Speaking on the infighting that has plagued the Labour party, Balls said all sides have been determined to stay united so that the transition of power will be stable.

“The last week has not been stable or orderly. But the universal desire is to put these events behind us,” he said.

Balls said he will campaign for a speedy restart to the Doha round of trade talks at the IMF meeting in Singapore. He would also discuss strengthening the IMF’s surveillance regime to make it more responsive and accountable, he said.

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