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FSA forgets its roots

At today’s FSA Turner review conference the eyes of the world looked to the UK’s regulator to set the standard for the future of global financial reform.

Darling, Turner, Sants and a raft of banking and economic minds waxed lyrical about global reforms, global problems and global finance – but made very little mention of the UK sector, which should always be its primary concern.

TV cameras lined the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre this morning, eager to hear what the finance world had to say on the eve of the G20. Experts from Europe, Asia and America were there to hear how Great Britain had set out plans for a global economic recovery.

And there was a lot of debate around the global problem and the global solution. “Macro” was the word of the day and everyone had an answer as to how the world gets along better in the future. Turner and Darling basked in their own limelight – but the men, the chairman of the British financial regulator and the British Chancellor, didn’t have any answers for the British financial sector.

We are all in agreement that this is a global problem, and we know that the parochial stance that many countries have set isn’t one that is going to help the crisis – but surely at least some of Britain’s problems should have been given decent air time at a British conference?

There was no mention of financial advice; there was no mention of levies, little on the state of the UK banking system, of British institutions and little time given to the proposals of intrusive regulation and restriction that took up much of the Turner Review.

The UK Government is very keen to be seen as a world leader this week: the eyes of the world are upon the City as the G20 rolls into town. But surely the Government would be more believed if they had made any progress in cleaning up their own back yard?

Gordon Brown claims to have saved the world and the FSA claims it is leading the global financial regulatory revolution. But neither has even solved the problems of the UK financial service sector yet. Surely the UK authorities should learn to walk again before they don the capes of international superheroes?


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