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Updated January 25th, 2024 at 17:49 IST

Bank of England reviews "Ring-Fencing" rules, no major overhaul needed

Change to the regulations has been suggested by the finance minister, raising the ring fencing level from 25 billion euros to 35 billion euros.

Business Desk
Bank of England
Bank of England | Image:Reuters Photo
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BoE review: The Bank of England (BoE) announced on Thursday that its regulations requiring banks to implement "ring-fencing" measures around their retail arms, backed by specific capital buffers, have functioned effectively, indicating that a major overhaul is unnecessary.

Introduced by Britain after the global financial crisis of 2007–09, the "ring-fencing" rules were established to prevent taxpayers from having to bail out banks in times of financial turmoil. Despite lobbying from banks urging the rules' elimination, the BoE's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) asserted that the majority of the rules are performing satisfactorily.

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The finance ministry has proposed a modification to the rules, suggesting an increase in the threshold for ring fencing from 25 billion euros ($31.83 billion) to 35 billion euros. This is part of a broader effort to ease regulations post-Brexit, aimed at maintaining London's status as a globally competitive financial centre.

Potential improvement

While the BoE's review indicated overall satisfaction with the existing rules, it did acknowledge areas for potential improvement. The PRA stated in a release that it intends to consult on changes to ring-fencing rules after conducting a more thorough analysis of the costs and benefits associated with various options.

The core objective of these rules is to shield retail deposits from potential risks stemming from a bank's more volatile activities, particularly in areas such as investment banking.

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The identified areas for potential improvement include the regulations governing the provision of services from ring-fenced banks compared to non-ring-fenced segments of the institution, the BoE reported.

"While there may be ways to improve the functioning of the rules, we do not consider that the fundamental approach should be revisited or that rules should be deleted," the statement from the BoE's PRA emphasised.

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This review aligns with broader regulatory efforts post-Brexit to strike a balance between maintaining financial stability and ensuring the competitiveness of London's financial sector on the global stage.

(with Reuters input)

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Published January 25th, 2024 at 17:49 IST

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