Two-thirds of Financial Services Practitioners Support Ring-fencing

Two-thirds of financial services practitioners support proposals to ring-fence a banks investment operations from its retail business as a way of protecting depositors, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).

Of those backing the plans, 32% were strongly in favour and 35%, on balance, agreed. The 33% opposed to the splitting of investment and retail businesses included 18% who were strongly against the measure.

Comments from those in support included “investors’ money will be more safeguarded” and “retail clients need protection from rogue dealers”.

Another respondent said, “Why should highly paid gamblers back up their bets with retail money? Let them stand on their own and if it all goes wrong, they face losing their jobs. This may concentrate their minds.”

But one opponent warned, “be careful what you ask for”, suggesting that free current accounts could become a thing of the past as a result of banks passing on higher costs caused by constraints on their business.

“It will produce a liquidity crisis and push banks’ headquarters out of the UK”, was a further downbeat prediction.

In April, the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), in its interim report considering reforms to the banking sector to promote financial stability and competition, called for ring-fencing. The ICB will publish its final report on 12 September. Chancellor George Osborne has backed such a separation of banking operations.


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