The Great Debate UK

The Banking Standards Review Council has the potential to make a difference

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–Tim Dolan is a Partner in the Financial Markets team in King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s London office. The opinions expressed are his own.–

With the Financial Services Authority (FSA) already replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), what use does the UK have for another new financial sector body, the Banking Standards Review Council?

The Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC) will not be a regulator, providing day-to-day supervision of banks, it will review the progress that banks make in improving their culture, competence and customer outcomes, and report on that progress to the public annually.

The BSRC will review individual banks’ standards of good practice, such as whistle-blowing protocols, suggestions about appropriate retail sales incentives and processes for handling businesses in distress. It will focus on increasing the value placed on industry qualifications and encouraging good practice in learning, development and leadership, and it will meet with each participating bank’s non-executive directors on an annual basis to discuss their progress in meeting desired outcomes.

from Breakingviews:

RBS shows watchdogs need power to stop M&A

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.

from Reuters Investigates:

Financial cyber-bullying?

"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.

Day-trader John Douce is sceptical about the boards' impact on stock prices

Day-trader John Douce is sceptical about the boards' impact on stock prices

from UK News:

Pru’s Asian misadventure: a cautionary tale

PRUDENTIAL/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.

Why George Osborne should think again

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– 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.

One cheer for Darling’s reforms

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REUTERS– Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

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.

Ask the regulator

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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:

Credit control will be much more intrusive in future

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

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.

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