Electrify the Vickers Ringfence Says Commission

On 21 December 2012, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards published its first report, in which it gives consideration to the draft Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill and associated proposals which give effect to the conclusions detailed in the Vickers’ report.

Whilst the Commission supports the introduction of ring-fencing, its Chairman Andrew Tyrie MP, stated that the proposals “fall well short of what is required”.  The Commission recommends “electrification” of the ring-fence by given regulators the power to forcibly separate any bank found guilty of trying to circumvent the rules.  In addition, the Commission proposes that the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 should include a legal duty on boards of directors to preserve the integrity of the ring-fence.

Better news is found in the Commission’s conclusion that there is a case in principle for permitting the sale of simple derivatives to small businesses from within the ring-fence.  However, such permission would need to be subject to conditions and agreement on a satisfactory definition of “simple derivatives”.  Less welcome will be the news that the Commission will investigate further as to whether a ban on proprietary trading – akin to a Volcker Rule – is appropriate.

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