Treasury Committee publishes SME reports

In October, the Treasury Committee reported on SME finance, making several recommendations including setting out its views on the availability of FOS and the Tribunal for SME disputes, and the suggestion that commercial lending be regulated to protect SMEs. The Government and FCA have now responded to the report. The Government has refused to bring commercial lending within regulation, which Nicky Morgan said was wrong. The Government’s stance is that it regulates only where there is a clear case for doing so, and that, outside of loans that are already regulated under the consumer credit regime, the SME lending market has changed significantly for the better since the financial crisis and follow up period, and FCA now has powers under the SMCR to take action against individuals for misconduct, and that it sees no clear case for brining SME lending within regulation. It said that if FCA is not given appropriate powers, another RBS GRG-type scandal could occur.  The Committee is also annoyed that the Government will not pursue its recommendations for a tribunal to address complex SME disputes.