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BoE: Wall St and UK City in ‘sad place’

Wednesday 1 December 2010 - by Will Henley

Financial markets on both sides of the Atlantic are in a "sad place to one side of capitalism" and badly need an injection of market discipline, the deputy governor of the Bank of England has said.

Paul Tucker, speaking at a major conference on financial regulation in London on Wednesday, indicated that the UK government was determined to address the issue of too-big-to-fail institutions by seeing through so-called "living will" reforms.

Tucker said: "I'm sure everybody in the City wants to be working in capitalism rather than in something that is slightly to one side of capitalism, which is the sad place the City and Wall Street have found themselves in over the past year."

"What would [a living will] do? It would bring a bit of market discipline back into the heart of capitalism."

Under Financial Stability Board measures approved by the G20 last month, governments are to require global systemically important financial institutions to put in place resolution plans in the event of a crisis affecting their ability to operate.

The living will proposal is intended to reduce the risk of taxpayer funded bailouts of private corporations.

The deputy governor suggested that these plans are vital to improving financial stability, but that governments would need to implement changes to regulation regimes to ensure adoption.

"The living wills concept really only gets traction with the biggest firms in the world when you run a resolution regime," he told regulators and industry figures at the Reform and Cicero Consulting event at London's Guildhall.

Tucker added that regulatory agencies should be appropriately financed and staffed with knowledgeable individuals in order to deal with increased responsibilities.

"It is very important that regulators are resourced with people who are appropriately well remunerated and have a deep understanding of the firms they regulate and markets they operate in," he said.

Tucker was speaking alongside FSA chief executive Hector Sants, the first time the two men have lined up in public since it was announced that Sants would also become a deputy governor at the Bank of England.

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