Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60 - 61)

TUESDAY 15 MAY 2007

MS SUSAN HITCH, MR PIERS LE MARCHANT, MR MARTIN THOMAS AND MS PATRICIA LANKASTER

  Q60  Chairman: Why did not the commercial banks and the building societies think about this before, do you think?

  Ms Hitch: It is a good question.

  Mr Thomas: May I? On your previous question, just to support what Piers said, the investment banks who seemed supportive of it included those whose centre of gravity is not in the UK—and there are a great many. The other point is to say that investment banks have a trade association called LIBA—London Investment Banking Association—who are very supportive as well. There is no formal mechanism in the Balance story for signing up or not—you simply go by anecdote on how many people seem to be doing it. Why did the banks and building societies not think about this for themselves? I do not know, but I want to go back to my very first remark in today's meeting, which is that the dormant asset in a bank belongs to the bank, the dormant asset in a stockbroker belongs to the client. There is a fundamental difference which underlies, I am sure, everything you will have heard this morning from Grant Thornton on the accounting treatment.

  Q61  Chairman: Thank you very much for your evidence, it is very helpful to us, and I am grateful to you for your written submissions as well.

  Mr Marchant: Thank you very much. I have also brought a stack of copies of the Balance report, which gives the mechanism.



 
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