Articles - Finally…a UK roadmap for regulatory reform


 More radical and more detailed than could have been imagined.
 And by pushing ahead of the ICB the Chancellor is providing some market certainty.
  
 The plan for bank subsidiarisation is just what the Chancellor was urged to do by his predecessor Nigel Lawson - but Osborne pulled back in 2009 when he launched the Tories' plan for reform when in opposition for fear of upsetting the markets.
  
 Now he has no such qualms.
  
 He has got himself ahead of Vince Cable on the issue, which is why he has 'bounced' the ICB while delivering a coherent policy within Coalition politics.
  
 How it will work is the essence of the debate for the coming 18 months - and there is some hard work to do there.
 With just two weeks left to send responses to Vickers - the banking sector should provide clarity on that issue.
 I am delighted to see recognition of the special needs of the insurance sector - something we identified at Cicero right at the launch of the 2009 Tory plans. This has been firmly recognised in the plans and I warmly congratulate the Treasury for doing so.
  
 Osborne is also set to give the FCA a statutory responsibility to promote competition - an idea which again harks back to Tory plans in opposition and to a Centre for Policy Studies paper in 2005.
 It is spot on. Consumer choice and competition are key to confidence and towards inward investment from the financial sector to the UK.
  
 This week I have been talking to policymakers in Washington. Viewed from the UK's most clear competitor in global financial markets - there is considerable interest in the Osborne plan.
 It is the most radical settlement of any nation since the crisis to sort the financial system.
 But the danger remains - just as Sarbox was bold for US policymakers, it benefited London at the expense of New York. Will these reforms put in jeopardy the leading element of the UK economy?
 I note that in his speech this morning Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls hardly referred to the financial reforms - perhaps he secretly envies subsidiarisation.
  
 Only time will tell - but I give the Chancellor this - the package is politically clear and bold.
  
 Iain Anderson, Director and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero

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