By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England said on Wednesday that consolidating existing rules for banks and insurers will be a priority, signalling it will resist industry and political calls to keep the financial sector competitive by easing standards.
BoE Deputy Governor Sam Woods said a strategic review had discussed whether the Bank’s banking regulatory arm, the Prudential Regulation Authority, which he heads, should continue to focus on retaining and building on existing rules.
An internal, top-level debate concluded there was a need to keep at the “forefront of our minds” lessons from the global financial crisis, when Britain bailed out several undercapitalised banks, Woods added.
Banks and some lawmakers have called on regulators to put more emphasis on competitiveness following Brexit, triggering a warning from the International Monetary Fund.
A push by industry to ease rules which force banks to wrap their retail arms with extra capital also appears to have run aground.
Revamping insurance capital rules and creating a simpler regulatory regime for smaller banks will help competitiveness without undermining standards, Woods said.
The PRA, funded by fees on the firms it regulates, will hire 100 more staff, increasing headcount to a total of 1,440.
The PRA’s budget for the year beginning this month will rise to 320.9 million pounds, up 24.3 million pounds or 8.2% from the prior year.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Catherine Evans)