Volcker to appear before UK bank commission

Tue Oct 2, 2012 6:24am EDT
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By Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Paul Volcker, the former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, will appear before British lawmakers investigating standards within the UK's banking industry later this month, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards said on Tuesday.

Volcker, who led the Fed under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, has been at the forefront of recent regulatory attempts to reform the U.S. banking system and will compare and contrast banking practices in Britain and the United States.

The octogenarian is considered a sage of monetary policy and a crusader for tighter regulation in the United States.

The hotly debated "Volcker rule" preventing banks from taking risky bets for their own gain rather than on behalf of their customers and mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Andrew Tyrie, who is heading the UK inquiry, said the commission will want to hear Volcker's thoughts on America's recent experiences with regulatory reform - on the steps that have been taken, on areas that require further work, and on how these proposals compare with those in other countries.

"There is no one better placed than Paul Volcker to shine some light on the standards and culture prevailing in the U.S. banking industry," Tyrie said in a statement.

"There are good arguments for more co-operation between regulators, in order to secure better standards across the world and to avoid regulatory arbitrage," he added.

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times on Tuesday, Tyrie said cultural shortfalls and measures providing banks with protection from the full disciplines of the market need to be tackled.   Continued...

Paul Volcker, former chairman U.S. Federal Reserve takes part in the Spruce Meadows Changing Fortunes Round Table on business in Calgary, Alberta, September 9, 2011. REUTERS/Todd Korol