The Chancellor has promised a statement next week to try to sort out the regulatory mess that characterised the Northern Rock debacle.
What he needs to do is the following:
1. Ensure the Bank of England is more than just a monthly tea party for a group of academic economists sitting round talking about interest rates. The Bank needs to be given the power to direct and deal in government debt (currently with the Treasury).
2.The Bank needs to be a hands on operator in the money markets, so it does not allow in future the markets to become as illiquid as they were in August and September 2007, nor as loose as they were a year or more earlier. The Monetary Policy Committee became entirely academic last year when market rates diverged from MPS rates by up to 100 basis points. If the Bank is to set interest rates, it has to have all the powers and knowledge to operate successfully in money markets, to enforce the rates the MPC recommends.
2. Transfer banking supervision from the FSA to the Bank to allow the bank to operate properly in markets.This would ensure the Bank saw the main positions of the big banks daily, and understood the minute by minute pressures in money markets better.
3. Press for amendment of the EU MAD Directive to allow the Bank to organise rescues for ailing financial institutions in private and rapidly if needed.
4. Renegotiate Basel II to strike a better balance between off balance sheet and on balance sheet items, and to avoid Basel II becoming a further tightening of the capital rules at a time when banks are already finding it difficult to lend through balance sheet pressures.
5. Announce that the UK will not support any more EU regulations of financial services – there are too many new ones that have not yet bedded down, and we need a period of reflection and implementation to see how they will work.Some will need amendment or repeal, as they are too proscriptive and will drive busienss offshore from the EU.
6. Review the operation of the Rating agencies with other overseas jurisdictions, to see if they can operate more cautiously in future.