23rd February 2016

BBA Brief – 23 February 2016

Business leaders sign letter supporting EU membership

A letter calling on the UK to remain in the European Union has been signed by 200 business leaders, including Chairmen and Chief Executives of 36 FTSE 100 companies (Times, £, p1). The letter welcomes the renegotiation deal secured by the Prime Minister in Brussels last week. It concludes: “Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs” (BBC News). Leave campaigners have highlighted that two-thirds of FTSE 100 firms, including some major banks and supermarkets, did not back the letter.

PPI tops complaints to ombudsman

Figures from the Financial Ombudsman Service show it received 164,347 new complaint cases against banks in the second half of the year (Independent, p51). PPI complaints accounted for over 92,000, or 56 per cent, of the total. Complaints about financial products other than PPI fell in the last six months of 2015, with fewer concerns raised reported with packaged bank accounts, mortgages and pensions (Telegraph, B5).

US banking groups warn against proposed capital buffer rules

The leading US banking lobby groups have criticised proposals from the Federal Reserve on total loss absorbing capacity, warning that the “excessive” requirements could restrict the flow of credit (FT, £, p16). Under the Fed’s proposals, banks must operate with a minimum equity and debt ratio equal to 18 per cent of risk-weighted assets. The lobby groups called for this ratio to be reduced to 14 per cent. Greg Baer, President of lobby group The Clearing House, said reforms since the crisis meant that “the US has an extraordinarily resilient and resolvable set of banks.”

Latest from the BBA

Sam Mannion, the BBA’s Capital Markets and Infrastructure Policy Advisor, blogs about the implementation of mandatory clearing and reporting of all OTC derivatives.

Register now for the BBA forthcoming webinar on ‘Top Risks for 2016’ which will take place on Thursday 25th February. Click here to register your free place.

Are you ready for the new individual accountability regime? On 7th March 2016, the Senior Managers Regime (SMR) comes into effect. To help you meet the requirements to train staff, NEDs and Senior Managers, the BBA eLearning Academy has developed a number of new eLearning titles on the New Conduct Rules and SMR. Click here to view.

On 15th March, the BBA is running its popular one day workshop on ‘Enhancing Your Sanctions Compliance Programme’. Fully updated to incorporate the recent lifting of sanctions on Iran, this workshop will provide you and your team with a solid knowledge and understanding of sanctions. Click here to register.

Latest from our sponsor Jaywing

Read a blog by Jaywing’s Data Management Practice Director, Inderjit Mund, on the complex challenges that businesses face when it comes to measuring and managing data.

Today’s diary

Vulnerability Forum launching the Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce report. The full report is available here.

HoC Business, Innovation and Skills Committee: digital economy hearing (09.30)

HoC Treasury Select Committee: February 2016 Inflation report with Mark Carney (10.00)

HMRC: number of property transactions January

ONS: household disposable income and inequality financial year ending March 2015

Stat of the day

10 per cent – the decrease in complaints about financial products other than PPI in the second half of 2015 (Source: Financial Ombudsman Service).

In brief

The pound slumped to its lowest level against the dollar in almost seven years amid concerns about a possible UK exit from the European Union (BBC News).

The Daily Mail (p22) reports on a Financial Conduct Authority discussion paper on the ageing population and proposals to improve services for elderly customers.

Vítor Constâncio, the European Central Bank’s Vice-President, has hinted that the central banker is considering an adjustment to their interest rate regime to shield banks from the impact of negative rates (FT, £, p6).

The Daily Mail (p62) looks at whether overly aggressive select committee hearings are damaging the UK’s reputation as a place to do business.

What the commentators say

Writing in the FT (£, p16), Patrick Jenkins says the uncertainty over the UK’s membership of the EU “is the last thing that Europe’s banking system needs.”

Banking consultant Simon Samuels warns that despite post-crisis regulatory reforms it remains to be seen whether the “too big to fail” problem has been resolved (FT, £, p11).

Writing in the Evening Standard (p14), Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan claims that leaving the European Union would be “catastrophic”.

Ben Chu argues that the Government’s extension of the Help to Buy scheme has served to boost house prices significantly, rather than help boost the housing market (Evening Standard, p44).

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