Former UK regulator urges Trump not to scrap Wall St. reform

November 16, 2016 12:37 PM EST

Adair Turner leaves Downing Street in central London May 28, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall


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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States must not scrap bank capital requirements introduced at the height of the financial crisis aimed at avoiding more taxpayer bailouts of lenders, an architect of the rules said on Wednesday.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has said the "sprawling and complex" Dodd Frank reform of Wall Street banks passed in 2010 has failed to live up to promises to boost growth.

His comments on rolling back regulation have triggered unease among global regulators, and have sparked calls from some European Union lawmakers for ongoing talks on new global bank capital rules to be suspended.

"I think it would be very unfortunate if there is any significant rollback of the regulation which was introduced over the last five years," Adair Turner, who led Britain's Financial Services Authority during the financial crisis and was one of the architects of the new banking rules, said on Wednesday.

"The international community will be drawing a distinction between, yes, there are specific things in the Dodd Frank arena that are specific to the U.S. where they may want to revisit that. What would be very concerning is any rollback of capital and liquidity agreed at the international level," he told a news conference to launch a report on financial markets.

Turner said there was a need to wait and see whether Trump implements all his election pledges, and industry officials doubt all of Dodd Frank will be jettisoned.

"There will be adjustment around the edges. I don't expect a full rollback on regulation but I expect much less regulation to come," Axel Weber, chairman of Swiss bank UBS, told CNBC on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Barclays bank Chief Executive Jes Staley told a separate conference: "I don't think there will be a huge rollback on the regulatory framework."

BASEL IV

Trump's stated policy, however, may cloud efforts by global banking regulators at the Basel Committee to complete capital rules that are already under attack from Europe for being too tough.

The committee meets in Chile on Nov. 28-29, and bankers expect its supervisory body, chaired by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, may end up having to broker a deal in early 2017.

A string of European policymakers and regulators have said the final Basel reforms should not be implemented if they lead to a big increase in capital requirements.

This prompted Thomas Hoenig, a top U.S. banking regulator, to say Basel should not rule out a significant increase in industry capital levels.

The reforms, dubbed Basel IV by banks, seek to curb their ability to use their own models to analyze risks on their books to determine capital requirements.

"To replace this risk analysis by a very simplistic standard - that would, in a way, go back to the old non-specific system. So-called Basel IV could be a dangerous move." former International Monetary Fund managing director Jacques de Larosiere told the news conference attended by Turner.

Some EU lawmakers, whose backing is needed to implement Basel's reforms, want regulators to pause until the new U.S. administration's policy is clearer.

"I am in favor of a moratorium on Basel's work," Michael Theurer, a German member of the European Parliament said on Tuesday. "It would be wrong to implement something in Europe that would not be implemented in the United States."

The EU will itself publish proposals next week to ease some capital requirements on banks in a bid to boost jobs and growth, the same objectives cited by Trump, while insisting that international standards will still be respected.

Michael Spencer, chief executive of ICAP, the world's biggest broker, said on Wednesday a repeal or review of Dodd Frank would be good for markets.

"I think there are many reasons in the financial sector, and from our businesses point of view, that we can say that he (Trump) brings a lot of positives to our industry," he said.

(Additional reporting by Anjuli Davies and Noor Hussain; Editing by Mark Potter)



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