12 Feb /13

Banking regulation – play by the rules or get out of the game

banking translations

“Our country has paid a higher price than any other major economy for what went so badly wrong in our banking system. The anger people feel is very real

George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

Four and a half years on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, repercussions and recriminations continue to echo throughout our financial system.

Widespread popular anger with banks has sometimes lacked focus. Many people seem to be angry with banks and bankers without knowing why, and institutions that accepted no public money have been pilloried along with those that were saved by government bailouts.  Political leaders have struggled to be seen as impartial arbiters, and to the fury of taxpayers they have also struggled to impose trading conditions on banks who owe their continued existence to public funds.

Speaking at the offices of JP Morgan last week, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made an attempt to lay down the law for British banks, proposing regulation and punishment for transgression that go further than the plans of his European and American counterparts. Coming in the same week as the Prime Minister’s support for a landmark bill in favour of gay marriage, this was another example of the senior partners in Britain’s coalition government reaching out to a section of the electorate with whom it has often been at odds. The political consequences remain to be seen, and the regulatory consequences for the financial sector could be just as important.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, which is 82% government owned, has already been handed a £390 million ($612 million) fine for interest rate rigging, and Mr Osborne has assured voters that he intends to clamp down on reckless lending across the sector.

The United States government, along with other major European economies including France and Germany, proposes that banks draw a clear dividing line between activities where they trade with their own money and activities where they trade with customer funds. The UK proposes to go further, with the Bank of England keeping a close eye on investment banking to nip in the bud any activity which could threaten a bank’s retail business. If these regulations are enforced, then banks which play fast and loose with the new rules may be forced to choose between their investment and retail operations and sell one or the other. It’s a choice no one will relish.

The city of London may be home to a banking sector that has been widely criticised in recent years but it is also the hub of a legal system which operates with renowned probity. Whatever the rules laid down by government, the legal profession will offer wise counsel. As long standing partner to many of the world’s leading law firms and many of its leading financial institutions, EVS Translations sees each side of this coin, and among the many things these client groups have in common is the need for clear communication. Banking translations and legal translations need unambiguous communication. Our clients know that playing by the rules and staying in the game require consistency, quality and reliability. We’re proud to provide exactly that – in any language.