Darling hits out at ‘Kamikaze’ bankers

Author: PA

He has already indicated that next week’s banking reform White Paper will
include new powers for the Bank of England and Financial Services Authority.

Writing in the News of the World he said regulators would be able to ask
“searching questions” and be “ready and able to deal with failures when they
arise”.

He said: “We need to learn lessons from the financial crisis in which banks
behaved in a kamikaze manner and the regulatory system failed.

“Far too many people in boardrooms did not know, nor understand what was
happening in their institutions.

“We know now that no authority in the world understood the true risks to the
system or the likely consequences. That needs to change.

“I want a new banking system we can all rely on and which will be the
foundation of our new prosperity.”

The proposed reforms would “deliver tougher regulation and more rigorous
monitoring and managing of system-wide risks so we can make sure we are
ready and able to deal with failures when they arise,” he said.

“Regulators will get powers to do their jobs more effectively, to ask
searching questions of the institutions.

“Businesses need to be able to borrow. Families need to get mortgages. The
stakes are high but a stable financial world is a goal we are determined to
achieve.”

Mr Darling yesterday played down reports of a turf war between Bank of England
governor Mervyn King and the FSA, led by Lord Turner, over who will wield
powers to regulate the banks.

He indicated that the White Paper will retain the “tripartite” regulatory
system, which divides responsibility between the Bank, FSA and Treasury.

The Bank is expected to be given a central role in preventing future booms
from turning into bubbles and assessing risks to the system, as well as to
individual banks.

And the FSA will be told to take a more pro-active approach to preventing
bonuses that reward short-term profits. Banks are expected to be required to
hold more capital reserves to provide a safety net.

Mr Darling is thought likely to reject Mr King’s call for banks to be split
between their risky investment sides and their safer retail operations. But
they are expected to be required to make it easier to see the split between
the two functions, to make future rescues easier.

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