Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Mark Carney pledges end to 'age of irresponsibility' in City

Published 11/11/2015

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said there are still 'bad apples' in financial services
Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said there are still 'bad apples' in financial services

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the "age of irresponsibility" in the City is over as regulators make financial markets fairer and hold "bad apples" to account.

Mr Carney said the Bank and authorities were bringing the era of " heads-I-win, tails-you-lose capitalism" to a close to ensure bankers will be punished for wrongdoing and that markets are resilient and "don't collapse when the going gets tough".

The governor is holding an "open forum" with policymakers, academics and senior bankers in central London to discuss the future of regulation.

He told Sky News ahead of the forum there were still "bad apples" in the industry, but said the finance sector is increasingly "part of the solution rather than the problem".

Mr Carney said Britain's financial sector had the potential to be worth six to nearly 15 times the value of the UK entire gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050.

He added that reforms of the sector and regulation were essential to keep the UK as a leading international financial sector.

He said the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath " laid bare that many of our markets didn't live up" to standards expected of the sector.

Mr Carney told the forum that "a huge amount has already been completed to make markets fairer, more resilient, accountable and effective".

He added: "But the journey isn't finished."

Authorities must "have the courage to listen, the honesty to admit our mistakes and the confidence to set them right", according to Mr Carney.

He said: "Today is a chance to take stock and reflect - not just on our achievements but on what we might have missed, overdone, or simply got wrong.

"Because we're determined not to repeat the cycles of the past."

In a first for the Bank, it is throwing open the whole issue of financial market regulation to the public for their ideas on how to take it forward.

Around 400 people are attending the forum at The Guildhall in London, with around half securing their places through a public ballot.

But Mr Carney said the places were four times oversubscribed.

Many more are watching the event broadcast live online, including some of the 5,000 pupils from 300 schools across the UK who watched a webinar from the Bank earlier this week.

Chancellor George Osborne, who also addressed the forum, said past regulation of the City and financial sector was not good enough.

He said: " For too long we have had a situation where benchmarks were rigged. Benchmarks used by millions, to exchange money when they went on holiday. It now turns out insiders were rigging the benchmark.

" Regulators who said they knew what was going on, but of course did not," he added.

" Hopefully whoever is doing my job when next big failure happens will have many more options than I have."

He told the forum that systems to rescue banks and stabilise markets were inadequate in the past, leaving former chancellor Alistair Darling with " little option but to bail out the banks" when the crisis struck.

Mr Osborne said: "I understand public anger about the banking crisis ... We have to prove things really have changed."

He agreed with Mr Carney over the potential for the UK's financial sector to be a global leader, saying " we want to be the world's largest financial centre" and " home of the world's biggest banks".

"But we also want them to be safe," he stressed.

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is also speaking at the event while the Bank is inviting people to email or tweet it with their thoughts on financial markets and regulation.

Mr Osborne said unscrupulous bankers who played a part in the financial crisis were not unlike shoplifters and needed to be held accountable.

"If you go and shoplift at the local WH Smiths you go to prison," he said.

But Mr Osborne said it was a "bit optimistic" to say the sector can move on entirely from the scandals and crisis of recent years.

He added: "It will take time for the financial sector, and indeed the regulators and politicians responsible, to prove to the public that things really have changed.

"That there are tougher laws and regulations. That people who have committed crimes go to prison. That banks which get into trouble will be bailed out by their creditors rather than the taxpayer.

"And that there will be openness and transparency."

Mr Carney told bankers in his closing remarks to the forum "there is no other big wave of banking regulation to come".

It was now up to banks to work within a safer market environment where their capital requirements have increased ten-fold and their liquid assets on balance sheets have risen four‐fold.

The Bank governor added: "The level of trust in markets and financial institutions is quite low."

He blamed this on misconduct at financial institutions and a lack of focus on their customers.

But he added: "This forum has been almost universal in its reaffirmation of the importance of markets."

Your Comments

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

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph