Bank bosses want ringfence reforms sooner

banking inquiry

Barclays and HSBC are both calling for the pace of UK banking reforms to be accelerated from its current 2019 deadline.

Speaking to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking yesterday, Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins and HSBC chairman Douglas Flint called for new rules to be implemented quickly, adding “the sooner the better”.

Jenkins said: “The sooner we conclude the process to get to definite regulation, the sooner we can begin the process of implementation. It may be there are some steps we can take ahead of complete certainty and that is something we are looking at at Barclays.”

Labour MP Pat McFadden quoted Barclays’ unpublished written evidence as saying “the importance of these reforms calls for faster implementation.”

When asked by McFadden if he wanted to implement reforms before 2019, Jenkins said he would like the option.

Flint also backed greater certainty over the rules so that banks could implement them before the 2019 deadline.

He said: “The sooner we can get it done the better, but there is a long lead time. If we do not have the detailed rules until 2015 then it is unlikely it will be much before 2019.

“The sooner we can get final rules the sooner we can begin to implement them, then we will go as fast as we can.”

But Santander UK chief executive Ana Botin disagreed, saying it will take time to implement the new rules. She said 2019 is a good deadline.

Botin said: “We have undergone a lot of change and are undergoing even more changes with major structural reform and for us to implement it in the right way we do not think we can do it faster. Clarity as to how we are going to do it will allow us to plan ahead and make changes in the best way. We need clarity but we also need time. We are supportive of the implementation timetable because we do not believe it can be done faster.”

MPs have already signalled a desire to bring forward the timetable, including Labour leader Ed Miliband.