Lloyds CEO to call for British banks to accept new ring-fencing rules

Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:01pm EDT
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By Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group's (LLOY.L: Quote) Chief Executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, will on Thursday call for British banks to accept new rules designed to protect their domestic retail customers from riskier parts of their operations.

Britain's financial regulator is consulting with banks over the issue and will publish final rules next year to give lenders time to implement changes ahead of a 2019 deadline for their introduction.

Some senior bankers believe other regulatory changes and structural reforms already underway within banks have made the need for ring-fencing redundant. Horta-Osorio, however, will say it remains a key element of new regulations designed to ensure banks can support the economy in a strong and sustainable way.

"To people who say ring-fencing is too burdensome, I would simply say that having an effective ring-fence can, over time, reduce the level of capital required in the banking sector," he will say at a British Bankers Association conference.

Lloyds, Britain's biggest retail bank, is less affected by the new rules than some of its rivals, because the vast majority of its activities will sit within the ring-fenced operation.

In contrast, HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote) and Barclays (BARC.L: Quote), which have much bigger investment banking businesses, face more onerous restructuring to meet the new requirements.

Horta-Osorio will tell the conference that the regulatory burden on banks will continue to increase until trust in the industry is rebuilt.

"The regulation burden will only stop growing once the public and regulators trust us to manage our sector in a responsible manner," he will say.   Continued...

A branch of Lloyds Bank is seen in the City of London December 16, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville