LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) – Regulators will have to promote the global competitiveness of Britain’s financial sector or could face mandatory revisions to their rules, British Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Tuesday.

He confirmed that a long-awaited Financial Services and Markets Bill will come to Parliament on Wednesday to “capitalize on the benefits of Brexit and transform the financial services sector in the UK”.

Bankers have called for swift reforms to bolster London’s appeal as a global center for finance following Britain’s departure from the European Union.

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Amsterdam has already overtaken London as Europe’s top equity trading hub, prompting Britain to ease listing rules as it tries to persuade chipmaker Arm to list in the UK. United.

Zahawi said the bill, which includes cutting insurers’ ‘excessive’ capital reserves for infrastructure investment, will unlock ‘tens of billions of pounds’, a step that will pit him against a Bank of England more cautious.

The bill also cracks down on financial scams, ensuring vulnerable people and rural areas have access to cash, and introduces rules for using stablecoins, a type of crypto-asset, for payments.

“Consumers will remain protected, with legislation ensuring that victims of scams can be compensated while acting to protect access to cash for the millions who depend on it,” Zahawi told an audience at Mansion. House in the historic financial district of the City of London.

The payment systems regulator will have the power to reimburse victims of what is known as authorized push payment fraud, or when fraudsters trick people into sending them money.

As noted, regulators like the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority will be given a secondary objective of promoting the global competitiveness of the financial sector, a requirement that many regulators around the world already face.

Still, some lawmakers fear it heralds a return to the “light-touch” regulation that led to bank bailouts during the financial crisis.

Part of the bill shifts legacy laws from the EU to regulators’ regulations, making it easier to change them in the future, but also giving watchdogs far more influence at the expense of parliament.

As a counterbalance, the Department of Finance had signaled that it could grant itself “appeal” powers to tell regulators to review a rule, if it was in the public interest.

Lawmakers have said this should be done sparingly, but Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned last week that independence from regulators was part of London’s position as a global financial centre.

Zahawi said the powers of appeal were still “under consideration”, indicating some caution.

Caroline Wagstaff, chief executive of the London Market Group, which represents the insurance market, said the new law would only boost the sector if regulators’ aim of competitiveness had real teeth.

“The bill absolutely must contain enough detail on how regulators will be held accountable on the issue of competitiveness, otherwise it will not achieve the regulatory culture change that we need, and it will only be words on one page,” Wagstaff said.

Vincent Keaveny, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said a clear commitment is needed on how regulators will focus more on competitiveness, without triggering a “race to the bottom” in standards.

A government-sponsored review on Tuesday made recommendations to speed up how listed companies can tap the markets for additional funding, and Zahawi said they had all been accepted by the government. Read more

A new digitalization task force, chaired by former HSBC chairman Douglas Flint, will lead to the modernization of share ownership by eliminating paper certificates.

The government will also streamline the process of raising capital by reforming the Companies Act to shorten rights issues and the processes around them, Zahawi said.

The first annual “State of the sector” will be published on Wednesday to affirm the government’s “vision of the sector”.

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Reporting by Huw Jones Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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