Summit to draw up new global rules for bankers
Sunday 08 March 2009
Lord Turner, the Financial Services Authority chairman, and Paul Tucker, the Bank of England's deputy governor, will be among the international regulators thrashing out a new code of conduct for bankers' pay and bonuses at a meeting next week.
The Financial Stability Forum (FSF), consisting of leading countries' central banks and regulators, will hold the two-day summit to produce a plan that will be discussed at next month's G20 meeting, also being held in London. Earlier this year, Gay Huey Evans, vice-chairman of investment banking at Barclays and the FSA's former head of enforcement, dubbed the FSF, "the best and most robust body we have" to tackle the problems facing world markets.
Top of the forum's agenda this week will be the controversial issue of banking bonuses, while attempts to get banks to prepare for cyclical swings and boost the size of capital buffers with bigger provisions, will also be discussed. The forum meets after the International Monetary Fund's revelation last week that the UK has pumped almost £280bn into its banking system, a fifth of its GDP.
The FSA is hosting the meeting at Canary Wharf, where Lord Turner and Mr Tucker will be present with Treasury representatives. Officials from all G7 countries, plus Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the Netherlands will attend.
The report on pay has been produced by a group headed by Philip Hildebrand, deputy governor of the Swiss National Bank. The report falls short of recommending pay caps but says incentives must not encourage bankers to take undue risks for which they cannot be later penalised. It argues for rewards based on long-term performance.
The group will also debate introducing corporate accounts that reflect not only current conditions but also show the effects of a cyclical downturn or the consequences of systemic risk. Such accounts would have to reflect property value falls, for instance.
Gordon Brown's proposal for a single global regulator is not on this week's agenda, but the forum will discuss the establishment of supervisory regulatory colleges and cross-border crisis management. Lord Turner has, in the past, conceded that regulators and accountants have differing views on what accounts should show and admits the FSA cannot act alone: "We cannot run a system where we have different accounting systems in one part of the world from another part.
"It is an area where we are going to have to try to get international agreement on the appropriate balance between these different ways of thinking about the information which is published in accounts."
US and UK officials are set to clash over accounting changes and the creation of a global regulator but UK representatives will use this week's meeting to press the American delegation to accept the need for global action. The US Treasury, Federal Reserve Bank and Securities & Exchange Commission will be present.
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