Cyclical De Ja Vue: Emancipation of the FSA and the rise of the Bank of England once more
Chambers, C. and Ryder, N. (2010) Cyclical De Ja Vue: Emancipation of the FSA and the rise of the Bank of England once more. Financial Regulation International. ISSN 1473-3323
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Financial regulation and economic development have one thing in common – they both develop in a cyclical manner and intertwine. This is especially the case following the recent announcement by the coalition government to emancipate the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which was heralded as being the ‘darling’ of the regulatory world. During this time span, the United Kingdom (UK) has seen a ‘golden age’ of finance which has resulted in a housing boom and an unprecedented period of economic prosperity. However, during the last three years of the Labour government’s administration, the UK saw an unprecedented economic downturn. When the system of financial regulation has been reformed it is certain that these changes have been spurred on by financial crisis (or two!) or a financial decline. Therefore why are we surprised that when on the third anniversary of the most recent economic crisis, a new regulatory structure has been proposed by the coalition government? Is it because the FSA was heralded as the ‘super regulatory agency’ that would put an end to financial scandals and financial crises? Well … yes, we became too complacent that the golden age of finance would continue and that the FSA would save us from the perils of the past. However, the passing of regulatory and supervisory power from the Bank of England to the FSA did at the time; ruffle a few feathers in the City. For those advocates who despised this regulatory shift, it is now time for them to know that the tide has turned and the FSA’s shift is over and it will be returned to the Bank of England. This paper examines the new banking reform proposals against the economic backdrop outlined above. At the heart of the paper is the proposition that everything in finance, whether it is the economic boom and bust, or the regulatory structure is set to this metronome of cyclicality. To this end the paper is divided into two parts. The first part of the paper looks at the main proposals of the reform such as the Office of Budget Responsibility; the emancipation of the FSA and the rise of the Central Bank and the structural changes to the financial institutions. The second part explores whether the future of the financial services sector is now clearer because of these reforms or whether no financial system is ever safe from financial scandal and crisis no matter how robust the regulatory system is.