The Great Debate UK
–Tanuja Randery is the CEO of trading services firm MarketPrizm. The opinions expressed are her own.—
As the economic downturn continues to drag on, the cynics amongst us might be forgiven for thinking that the “Tobin Tax” is a move by politicians to curry public favour by taking punitive measures against the financial services sector.
On 14 February, 11 out of the 17 euro zone nations agreed to implement the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), a tax on bond, equity and derivatives transactions, in January 2014. Two countries have already rolled it out — France, last August, and Italy, which followed suit on 1 March this year. The UK, Netherlands and Sweden are all strongly opposed.
On the face of it, the FTT appears small — 0.1%. However, the tax is cumulative and cascading, affecting a chain of trading and clearing including vendors, brokers and clearing members. Each sale along the chain will be taxed. Also, the tax will be levied on any bank registered in a country that does apply the tax, even if the transaction takes place in a country that hasn’t implemented it. This means that if a UK bank does a trade with an Italian bank, they will be taxed twice, with both the UK’s domestic stamp duty as well as the FTT.
By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.
Standard Chartered is the latest UK-based bank that seems to be getting it in the neck from our friends across the water. Firstly, there was Barclays and the Libor scandal, then there was HSBC which was fined for allowing drug-trafficked money from Mexico to go through its system and now there is Standard Chartered which is charged with “wilfully misleading” the New York Department of Financial Services and clearing $250 billion of Iranian transactions through its U.S. operation.
Two can be a coincidence, but three in as many months? Since the news on Standard Chartered broke there has been a torrent of investors, politicians and even some in the media who have queried whether this is just an attempt by Washington to discredit London and re-establish New York as the world’s financial centre.
from The Great Debate:
By John Kemp
The writer is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.
LONDON - Should federal government agencies have to prove the benefits of new regulations outweigh the costs before introducing them?
Pope Benedict said on Friday financial trading based on "selfish attitudes" is spreading poverty and hunger and called for more regulation of food commodity markets to guarantee everyone's right to life. "Poverty, underdevelopment and hunger are often the result of selfish attitudes which, coming from the heart of man, show themselves in social behaviour and economic exchange," the pope told a U.N. food agency conference.
Last night’s two big Mansion House speeches were impressive when they dealt with the macroeconomy, but depressing (if unsurprising) on the subject of reforming the banks, representing final confirmation of the gloomy conclusion of a blog I posted here in September 2009: It’s All Over – the Banks Have Won.
Of course the banks will squeal – why wouldn’t they? After all, they daren’t be seen cracking open the bubbly.
Matthew Elderfield, Head of Financial Regulation at the Central Bank of Ireland, will lay out his vision for a new Irish regulatory landscape at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker on Wednesday 6 April.
‘Ireland: Re-shaping the Regulatory and Banking System’ will be hosted by Reuters’ Jodie Ginsberg, UK and Ireland Editor, and will be streamed live to the Reuters UK website as part of our rolling coverage from 0830 BST.
–Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School . The opinions expressed are his own–
Bank bonuses are in the news again, and once more we see the spectacle of the Prime Minister indirectly pleading with the bankers not to be too greedy. Note the contradiction in the government’s position: even though we own two of the largest and most culpable banks, we dare not impose explicit limits on their pay lest they decamp to places where the political climate is more hospitable and the regulators more tolerant. But although enforced limits are out of the question, it’s quite OK to pressure them by every other means – which, of course, raises the question: why should bankers be more willing to stay in Britain when their pay packet is limited by “voluntary” restraint rather than government intervention?
– Richard Saunders is Chief Executive of the Investment Management Association. The opinions expressed are his own. –
Last week I was among a number of people asked to appear before the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee to talk about the Government’s plans for reorganising financial services regulation. It was an opportunity both to see the new Committee in action and to set out how I see the plans affecting the investment management industry.
Improving U.S. bank regulation may call for a little more stress. The disclosure and discipline imposed by the Federal Reserve's stress tests of big banks a year ago drew a line under the crisis. The tests separated sheep from goats and led to tens of billions of dollars of new capital being raised. It's a shame that stress tests aren't becoming an annual event.
The tests have been overshadowed by the Troubled Asset Relief Program. After all, that $700 billion plan to recapitalize the banking system kept institutions like Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley from going under. But the TARP scheme was fraught with conflicts still bedeviling the debate over reform, including the problem of bankers paying themselves handsomely on the back of taxpayer bailouts. As a result, few are calling for a repeat of the TARP experience.