Global giants still 'too big to fail', warns Bank


More than five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers there are still global banks which could not be wound up successfully without causing damage, a deputy governor of the Bank of England warned yesterday.

“I do not think we can say with confidence that we could resolve a failing global giant,” said Sir Jon Cunliffe, who is responsible for financial stability. “Getting agreement on international standards to end ‘Too Big to Fail’ is perhaps the regulatory priority for the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.”

Last year Sir Jon’s predecessor, Paul Tucker, surprised many by saying a giant bank could now be wound down, albeit not totally smoothly.

Although rules to make banks hold more capital and avoid having to take taxpayer money have been far-reaching, Sir Jon believes that the task of ending “too big to fail banks” remains.

He added: “Regulators and supervisors who cannot trust the implementation of standards in other jurisdictions will defend stability in their own jurisdictions by raising barriers. Such action minimises the risk of international crises, but the cost is the rolling back of financial globalisation, with less effective and efficient intermediation on global savings.”

The comments came ahead of a speech today by Mark Carney, the Bank’s Governor, in which he is due to outline wide-ranging reforms, including details of a new post of deputy governor responsible for markets and banking. It is also thought he will reveal Charlie Bean’s replacement as deputy governor for monetary policy when Mr Bean retires in June. 

Potential internal candidates include the chief economist Spencer Dale, markets director Paul Fisher and Monetary Policy Committee member Ben Broadbent. External options include Lucrezia Reichlin of the London Business School – Mr Carney is keen to have more women in senior posts.