The spectacular performance of the US financial market in recent years, the financial crises in South‐East Asia and Russia and the collapse of one of the most established merchant banks in the world are landmark events in economic history that have prompted concerns around the globe. The advent of the information age and globalisation means that the consequences of these events are felt more readily and extensively than ever before. Sustainability of financial growth and avoidance of future crises raise questions with a common denominator — good governance. With one of the principal financial centres in the world, it is trite to suggest that the need for good governance in the UK cannot be overstated. Protecting investors against abusive and fraudulent practices in the financial services industry has always assumed great importance. Since its emergence as an international financial and trading centre in the 13th century, the City of London has consistently emphasised the values of market confidence and integrity. In the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which is currently being read in Parliament, it is stated that its object is to maintain confidence in the financial markets, to promote public awareness and understanding, to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers through recognising the different degree of risks involved in different transactions and the different degrees of expertise and experience of different consumers, and to reduce the extent to which financial undertakings are used for the furtherance of financial crime.
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