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Basel reforms 15 years late, says BoE's Tucker

Friday 1 October 2010 - by Andrew Hickley

The Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker says some of the Basel III reforms are 15 years late and should have been discussed a long time before the financial crisis.

Speaking at the Eurofi financial forum this week, Tucker said the next step in regulation is for a liquidity accord from Basel.

He said: "This is a quarter of a century late, as it was discussed firstly in the mid 1980s. There remains a great deal of work to be done on that front, but no-one should underestimate its importance.

"The debate about putting more through central counterparties frankly also could've taken place 15 years ago, and it's a crying shame that it didn't."

Tucker did however praise the pace of reforms that are now coming out of Brussels, saying that Basel III has given Europe a firm structure for carrying on major regulatory reform.

"We're now in a period of transformation, there is no doubt of that. If there was any doubt in the market 18 months or so ago, I don't think there is any now. The energy behind reform hasn't flagged, and remains intact as we confront the enormous challenges of exiting this dreadful crisis.

"We've got our first platform for these reforms, which is the Basel accord. The UK would've liked it to be more rigorous, but we most certainly think it is an accord worth having. It is a significant stiffening of the regime that has prevailed more than perhaps more than commentators have immediately appreciated."

He also said that it is "intolerable to capitalism" to have institutions that are deemed too big to fail.

Tucker said that the financial stability board has prepared a provision to recommend to G20 leaders for their November meeting, in an attempt to conquer the dilemma.

"This wasn't a crisis that revolved in every single final degree around institutions that were too big to fail, but my goodness they were at the heart of it. It is intolerable for our societies and it is intolerable for capitalism for us to have institutions that are too big to fail."

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