Banking supervision inquiry launched

23 December 2008

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry into the supervision and regulation of the banking industry.

The Committee will look at how British banking is regulated and seek to identify what improvements are needed following the recent turmoil.

The Committee, which includes former Ministers as well as noted economists and business leaders, will assess how the tripartite regulation of banks in the UK, with the Treasury, the FSA and the Bank of England all playing a role, has performed.

Other questions the Committee will pursue are:

  • Can national regulatory bodies effectively control risks taken by banks in today’s globalised markets?
  • Could the regulators have foreseen the current banking crises?
  • Should capital adequacy regulations be tightened? Should they take account of the quality and liquidity of banks’ assets?
  • Do Basel banking standards and guidelines need to be changed? Did the FSA do enough to ensure Basel standards were followed?
  • Should there be tighter regulation of off-balance sheet vehicles in which some banks held ‘toxic’ assets associated with sub-prime mortgages? Should there be greater public disclosure of bank balance sheets?
  • How should the regulatory system take account of the Government’s position as a majority shareholder in a number of banks?
  • Are there lessons the UK can learn from the experience of other countries’ banking systems during the financial crises?

The Committee’s call for evidence was published on Wednesday 17 December. The Committee welcome written evidence from all interested parties. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 10 February 2009.

Lord Vallance, Chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, said:

"Problems in the banking systems in the UK and internationally have been a major factor in the current financial crisis.

"We need to examine how banks are supervised and regulated with the aim of preventing a repeat of the recent financial and banking turmoil.

"Our inquiry will seek to establish what steps should be taken in Britain and internationally to restore confidence in the banking system."

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