Britain says EU bank trading plans in line with UK reforms

LONDON Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:00am EST

LONDON Jan 29 (Reuters) - Draft European Union plans to curb risky trading at banks have been designed to allow Britain to fully introduce its own reform of trading, the UK finance ministry said.

EU financial services chief Michel Barnier published a draft law on Wednesday to ban speculative trading at banks and in some cases force lenders to wall off other types of trading to keep depositors safe and taxpayers off the hook if a trade goes wrong.

Britain has just approved a law to implement the so-called Vickers rule which will force retail arms of banks to hold more capital and transfer some trading activities to their wholesale arms.

"Today's proposals from the European Commission have much in common with the banking reforms the UK has pioneered and have been designed to allow the UK to go ahead with full implementation of its reforms," a UK Treasury spokesman said.

"Indeed, the government's Banking Reform Act already meets, and in some places exceeds, the proposed standards set out by the Commission, putting the UK at the forefront of European and global efforts to create safer banks without taxpayer subsidies that distort the European single market."

In Barnier's proposal, an EU country can opt out of the walling off requirement if it can show it has taken similar measures already, an exemption Britain expects to obtain.

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