UK's Darling pushes for urgent reform

Chancellor Alistair Darling speaks during a news conference in central London January 4, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - British finance minister Alistair Darling urged regulators, politicians and the world’s leading banks to reach a swift agreement on regulatory changes to keep up momentum generated after the credit crunch.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum after two hours of talks between dozens of financial sector heavyweights on Saturday, Darling said some common ground had been reached.

“What has changed is there is an acceptance on the part of banks that they need to make changes and they need to make changes quickly,” Darling said in the Swiss resort of Davos.

He said areas of agreement between the sides include the need to increase capital adequacy and living wills.

Referring to a weekend press report that some top bankers had agreed on the need for a wind-down levy, Darling said this was “one of a number of ideas,” but said there was no agreement: “This was a discussion forum, no agreement has been reached. Agreements of this nature have to be reached by regulators, it has go to be reached by governments, and banks.”

Reporting by Dominic Evans