Tuesday, November 15, 2011

George Osborne rejects "financial stability of graveyard"

According to a Telegraph article, George Osborne rejected the idea that bank reform can't wait.

Specifically, he reject Financial Policy Committee member Robert Jenkins suggestion that the Vicker's Commission proposals should be implemented in 24 months.

Mr. Osborne instead said that it would be a mistake to include these proposals in pending legislation.  Instead, it should go into its own legislation....[where the bank lobbyists will have a chance to dilute the proposals].

One of the reasons that I have recommended requiring banks to disclose on an on-going basis their current asset, liability and off-balance sheet exposure detail is that it is a very simple requirement.

If the UK adopted this requirement, it would also set the gold standard for bank disclosure.

Investors, given their choice between a bank offering utter transparency or a bank that hides its balance sheet exposures in a black box, will reward the bank with utter transparency with both more access to funds and a lower cost to those funds.

Yes the banks will push back against utter transparency, that is the role of Wall Street's Opacity Protection Team after all.

However, everyone can understand that the sunlight of disclosure is the best disinfectant of the financial system and what is needed for assessing the risk of each bank.

It is also possible for each bank to comply with the disclosure requirement in 24 months.

Now why are we trying for something more difficult that is not necessarily as effective as disclosure?

George Osborne has rejected calls for tighter bank legislation to be introduced more quickly by warning that Britain does "not want the financial stability of a graveyard."...
The Chancellor confirmed that the radical banking reforms recommended by the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) would not be included in the Finance Bill. He said it would "be a mistake" to try to "shoe-horn" the rules on ring-fencing retails banks from investment banks into the Bill. Instead he pledged that the Government would publish "by mid-December" details of how the ring-fence will work. Then the reforms would be brought forward in separate legislation. 
Mr Osborne insisted he was "committed to Vickers" despite the long timetable and that legislation would be drafted "this Parliament". He said the reforms would be "good" for banks, the City and the UK. 
The 2019 deadline was a "backstop" for the reforms and that some "features" would be implemented sooner, he said. 

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