G20 watchdog says bank rules working well, digs deeper into markets

August 31, 2016 6:03 AM EDT

Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor and the chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), leaves a news conference after FSB plenary session in Tokyo, Japan, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo - RTX2DSFJ


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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - The financial system's ability to cope with Britain's vote to leave the European Union and with doubts over growth prospects show the benefits of rules introduced since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers bank, a global watchdog said on Wednesday.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB), which coordinates financial regulation across the Group of 20 (G20) economies, has introduced rules forcing lenders to hold more capital since the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial crisis.

"Events this year have shown that the work to fix the fault lines that led to the financial crisis is paying off and is now helping to support strong, sustainable and balanced growth," FSB chairman Mark Carney said in a letter to G20 leaders who meet in China this weekend.

"As implementation progresses, the financial sector is increasingly absorbing shocks rather than amplifying them."

More work is on the cards.

Carney said the board would make recommendations in early 2017 to reduce misconduct after banks have been fined billions of dollars for attempting to rig interest rate benchmarks and currency markets.

The FSB will also highlight next year regulatory issues that "merit policy attention" in the financial technology or fintech sector.

The FSB has already studied whether rules introduced so far have had unintended effects. Banks have argued they make it uneconomic to hold the inventories of bonds needed to buy or sell at all times to keep markets "liquid".

Carney said there was limited evidence that new rules had harmed liquidity in normal times, but the FSB would dig deeper into the growing use of platforms to trade bonds, and the use of computerized trading.

It will also study the repo or repurchase agreement markets, a form of short-term borrowing backed by government bonds, used for day-to-day funding and a key element of liquidity.

Banks are trying to persuade regulators, who meet on Friday, to water down remaining elements in Basel III, the world's core regulatory response to the financial crisis.

The lenders say that unchanged, these elements amount to a big increase in capital requirements which they dub Basel IV.

Carney, who is also governor of the Bank of England, reiterated that the regulators are committed to not significantly increasing overall capital requirements across the banking sector when they complete the work by year end.

The FSB reforms aim to stop banks from being "too big to fail", but the board said substantial work remained to be done before regulators could close a big cross-border bank in trouble without triggering market upheavals.

Regulators have full cooperation agreements covering only half of the world's 30 top banks and two of the biggest insurers, the FSB said.

Carney said the board would also finalize by year-end recommendations to introduce new liquidity rules for funds by the end of 2017, and develop a "simple and consistent measure of leverage" for funds by the end of 2018.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)



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