BBA board looks at merger options

The British Bankers’ Association’s board has discussed a merger with another trade body, following the announcement that it will lose its role as the administrator of Libor.

The BBA operates as the administrator of Libor and issues licences for the commercial use of the benchmark rate. Following the recent rate-rigging scandal, Financial Conduct Authority chief executive designate Martin Wheatley recommended reforms for the administration and submission of Libor. In October, the Government accepted the proposals, which will see a new administrator replace the BBA.

The loss of this administrative role will have an uncertain effect on the trade body’s finances, which has led to boardroom discussions about a possible merger.

A BBA spokesman says the idea of a merger with another trade body, such as the Council of Mortgage Lenders, has come up in internal discussions but talks have not been extended to other bodies.

He says: “The idea has been suggested by members but the BBA has not been directed to look into this. It is an idea which has been floated in the boardroom but I can confirm we are not in discussions with the CML, nor any other trade body at the moment.”

The CML confirmed it has had no contact with the BBA about a merger.

BBA chief executive Anthony Browne is in the process of putting together a strategy paper on future budget options for the trade body. It is expected to be published in the new year but it is not yet known whether the suggestion of a merger will be included.