Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Watchdog barks too late

It's obviously quiet at the Treasury right now, with not much going on to trouble ministers and mandarins. That's why it's such an ideal time to shake up Britain's system of financial regulation (again). This is naturally not something you'd want to do when times are difficult. The Financial Services Authority proved that, dropping the ball on Equitable Life while it was distracted by other things, like bringing together nine regulatory bodies and getting the staff to talk to each other (they didn't).

But that's not a problem today because things are so much calmer now than they were at the end of the 1990s. That little problem across the Irish Sea? Nothing to worry about. Yawning deficits? Cutbacks?

Anyway, giving all the prudential stuff to the Bank of England while creating a Consumer Protection -amp; Markets Authority will make everything better, once we get through the pain. Having sat on its hands in the run up to the financial crisis, the pendulum has swung violently. The FSA appears hellbent on preventing thousands of people who would be perfectly able to afford mortgages from getting them. The problem is that having sat back and all but said 'fill yer boots' while lenders threw money around like confetti and borrowers rushed in, the regulator has gone too far in the other direction.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Comment

More

Company Profiles

More

Help & Advice

More

People on the move

More