UK gets ball rolling on new financial regulation laws

Britain's overhaul of financial regulation began to work its way into law on Thursday, with ministers keen to put in place a framework robust enough to avoid a repeat of the credit crisis.

At the top of the agenda is the abolition of the city watchdog Financial Services Authority and the establishment of a Bank of England Financial Policy Committee, which meets for the first time on Thursday.

The BoE will still be in charge of monetary policy, but also take over regulation of banks in the biggest shake-up of Britain's financial services framework since the previous Labour government came to power in 1997.

The draft financial regulation bill, published on Thursday, will be open to pre-legislative scrutiny with a cross-party committee from both houses of parliament combing through the details. The changes should be written into law in 2012.

"This is a detailed blueprint for regulatory reform setting out how the new structure will work," Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban said.

"It is in all our interests to get this right," Hoban told lawmakers.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has commissioned an independent report on how to structure the banking industry and supports ring-fencing retail operations from banks' riskier activities to protect taxpayers.

A final report from the Independent Commission on Banking will be published on September 12.

The previous Labour administration, ousted in 2010, was forced to bail out several banks during the financial crisis.

[Source: Reuters, London, 16jun11]

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