LONDON (Reuters) - Banks in Britain won’t face a new wave of rules, nor will there be a respite from implementing the revolution already agreed, the country’s top banking regulator said on Wednesday.
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, source of most banking regulation in the UK, has kindled speculation that some of the sector’s rulebook could be jettisoned after Brexit.
But Sam Woods, chief executive since June of the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), said banks can expect more of the same from him in terms of supervision, even as a “revolutionary” period of rulemaking comes to an end.
Some banks want a delay in “ring fencing”, a rule that requires them to wrap their retail arms with their own capital cushions from 2019, insulating those operations from riskier investment banking activities.
But Woods said the benefits of ring-fencing remained strong and its implementation should continue apace despite heightened, Brexit-related uncertainties.
“So it is full steam ahead,” he told an audience of bankers and regulators in London’s financial district. “In other words, no bonfire.”
The next task will be for banks to adapt their business models to new capital requirements and low interest rates, but it was too early to say what the final shape of those models would be.
“This is now a first-order issue for us at the PRA and (BoE’s) Financial Policy Committee,” Woods said.
The PRA will shortly publish details of how much “bail in” debt Britain’s main banks such as Barclays (BARC.L) and HSBC (HSBA.L) must hold, for potentially writing down in a crisis to avoid the taxpayer bailouts seen during the 2007-2009 financial meltdown.
Next week the PRA will launch quarterly statistics to show the levels of capital and risk-weighted assets on an aggregate basis. In 2017 it will publish a discussion paper on going a step further and requiring banks to publish detailed information on their capital holdings.
The Bank of England has said banks in general already hold enough capital.
Editing by Jane Merriman and David Holmes