Britain’s House of Lords voted in favour of an annual licensing scheme for bankers on Monday this week when they defied the wishes of government ministers and amended the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby (pictured), who is a member of the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and is a former oil comany corporate treasurer, told the House: "The expectations on senior managers must be high. However, it is also right that those who are not part of the senior management of the bank also have high standards."
He added: “[The amendment] clarifies the scope of who the new senior persons regime will apply to, to ensure that it is rightly focused on material risk-takers, not on all bank employees.”
The government may get its own way again, however, when the Bill returns to the House of Commons.
In the Lords debate, the definition of ‘bank’ was amended. It had previously been worded in a way that would have excluded Barclays Capital, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Securities and Goldman Sachs International, said Lord Eatwell, the Labour party’s shadow Treasury minister.
The government has agreed to establish a review panel that will examine whether the ring-fence regime is working. Former Chancellor Lord Lawson expressed concern about the possibility of “cultural contamination across the ring-fence” separating retail from wholesale banking activities.
Sources: FT, BBC, Daily Telegraph, Hansard