Conservative MP Mark Hoban has been appointed Treasury financial secretary, a role he previously shadowed, while Tory MP Justine Greening has been appointed Treasury economic secretary.
While the ministerial responsibilities had yet to be been announced at the time of going to press, Hoban is expected to be responsible for financial services and regulatory reform while Greening’s brief is more likely to be supporting chief secretary to the Treasury Liberal Democrat MP David Laws on public spending issues. Treasury exchequer secretary Conservative MP David Gauke is likely to look at issues such as business taxation.
Hoban was elected to Parliament in 2001 and took on the Shadow Treasury role in 2005 with responsibilities including the FSA and retail financial services, including IFA regulation.
He has been a keen follower of the progress of the retail distribution review and regularly attends Aifa events. However, he has refused to offer much of an opinion on the RDR, except to welcome its general direction, suggesting it is a matter for the FSA and not for politicians.
In his previous role as Sha-dow Treasury financial secretary, Hoban warned on the potential pitfalls of product regulation.
Speaking at the Tenet conference last December, he said: “If you have products kitemarked, it gives consumers more confidence. But equally what we do not want to see is the process for innovation and competition in the financial services market unnecessarily harmed by product regulation because it could act as a brake on innovation. We need to think quite carefully about how it would work.”
Greening was elected to Parliament in 2005 and worked on the work and pensions committee before her Shadow Treasury role and her role as Shadow minister for London. Gauke was elected to Parliament in 2005 and became a Shadow Treasury minister in 2007.
Lansons director of regulatory consulting Richard Hobbs says: “Hoban’s financial services reform role looks fraught with difficulty. The Conservative and LibDem manifestos looked very different. The LibDems look to have got the better of it in the coalition negotiations. Vince Cable will be keeping a close eye on him from his base in the Dep-artment for Business, Innovation and Skills. It could be an early flashpoint in the coalition.”
Cicero Consulting director Iain Anderson says it is sensible to put Hoban in charge of regulatory reform. He says: “This makes a lot of sense.
Hoban has a strong track record in this brief in opposition and he will bring that experience to the Government.”
Zurich Financial Services principal of Government and industry affairs Matthew Connell says: “Financial services are higher up the political agenda than ever before so it is no surprise that several ministers will have resp-onsibilities covering the sector.
“We expect that Mark Hoban and James Sassoon will lead structural reforms designed to bring the Bank of England’s macro-economic expertise to bear more closely on the supervision of banks.”
But Connell says while Hoban is likely to get responsibility for these over-arching reforms of the regulatory structure, Greening may, like previous economic secretaries, be tasked with oversight of conduct of business issues such as implementation of retail distribution review.
Friends Provident corporate responsibility manager Ashley Taylor says: “It makes sense for Hoban to have responsibility for financial regulatory reform, given that he has shadowed the role for five years and is well versed in issues around regulation and banking reform.
“Working with Sir James Sassoon, who is rumoured to become Commercial Secretary, they will make a strong team. Justine Greening is more likely to be focusing on City competitiveness and supporting the Chancellor with economic reform.
“It is important that both Hoban and Greening have an increased presence in Brussels working on the tough new rules that are set to govern financial services.”