The Great Debate UK
By Peter Thal Larsen
The author is a Retuers Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
The failure of Royal Bank of Scotland shows bank reform still has some way to go.
The report should dispel any doubts that new Basel III rules make banks safer. Using this measurement of capital, RBS's equity Tier 1 capital ratio at the end of 2007 was around 2 percent -- well below the 7 percent now considered to be an acceptable minimum. Under the new regime, RBS would have been prevented from paying a dividend at any time from 2005 onwards. Its heavy dependence on short-term funding would also now be deemed unacceptable.
However, RBS's collapse was also a failure of supervision. The FSA describes in painful detail how its team of supervisors -- which comprised just six people, compared to 23 today -- did little to challenge the bank's assessment of the risks it faced. That approach reflected the reigning theory of efficient markets and political pressure to maintain a "light-touch" regulatory regime. Both those factors no longer apply. Moreover, UK bank supervision is being transferred to the Bank of England.
from Reuters Investigates:
"They love a conspiracy theory on the boards," David Jones, chief market strategist at spread betting firm IG Index told UK correspondents Rosalba O'Brien and Matt Scuffham when they were reporting for "The stock, the web, the CEO and his lawyers" . It's a look at some of the shenanigans around highly speculative resource stocks when they are discussed on message boards like ADVFN and iii. Late-night gossip and personal insults are par for the course: some suspect organised short-sellers may be behind the talk. Given the high volumes of online trading in the UK, we wonder how long it will be before regulator FSA is forced to take a closer look.
from UK News:
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
Prudential's ill-fated Asian adventure has left the company and its management badly bruised. But it has offered at least two valuable lessons for ambitious executives tempted onto the acquisition path by post-crisis, "once-in-a-lifetime" deals.
Lesson one: It's not 2007 any more, Toto.
Lesson two: Disregard shareholders at your peril.
On the first, bold mega-deals that once impressed the market now seem to mostly unsettle both investors and regulators.
– Mark Hannam is a guest columnist, the views expressed are his own. He formerly worked at the Bank of England. He currently chairs Fair Finance, a microfinance company. The views expressed are his own. –
George Osborne’s proposals to reform the UK’s system of financial regulation make for good short-term politics but bad long-term policy. He should think again.
Chancellor Alastair Darling has ignored the first rule of holes: if you’re in one, stop digging. He could have produced a few motherhood-and-apple pie reforms of the banking system, to give the impression of activity. Instead, he has dug in, proposing an upgrade of Britain’s failed “tripartite” system of regulation.
Hector Sants, Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority, has agreed to take questions from Reuters readers after he delivers his first major speech on the future of financial market supervision on March 12th at the Thomson Reuters Building in London.
Sants, who was appointed just before Northern Rock was plunged into crisis, said last month that fresh thinking was needed in financial market supervision, pledged to get more involved in assessing the competence of senior bankers and waived his entitlement to a bonus for last year amid criticism of the FSA’s performance.
from The Great Debate:
The international system of bank regulation, epitomised by the Basle II process and the light-touch principles-based regulation of Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) has comprehensively failed.
In too many instances, light-touch principles-based regulation with an emphasis on banks' internal risk controls turned out to be no effective regulation at all.