(Hosted by the BBA and organised by the CSFI – with Graham Bishop and Simona Amati of Kreab)
“State of the Union 2015 - Time for Honesty, Unity and Solidarity” reinforced the `roadmap’ laid out in the June `Five Presidents Report’ towards more convergence.In particular, the President committed to a plan for a common deposit insurance scheme - but based on re-insurance. The necessity had been underlined by the run of Greek bank depositors who - naturally enough - did not believe the credibility of the Greek Government guarantee on their deposits. Juncker also reiterated his call for a European Treasury that would be accountable at the European level. Unsurprisingly, the Five President’s report had triggered a number of calls for greater integration from France (call for a eurozone government) and Italy (straight towards political union).
On Brexit, Juncker stressed his commitment to a fair deal for Britain - but one that had to be fair to the other 27. However, the well-connected Open Europe think-tank published a report on the safeguards that Britain wants for the euro `outs’. However, their list included several items that appear to require fundamental change to the `Treaty’ and that may prove very difficult to get agreed in the near future. These `demands’ include removing the Treaty commitment to all EU members (except UK/DK) eventually using the euro; reducing to three the number of non-euro states who could demand a halt to specific measures and a change in the Council voting rules.
The G30 issued its report on Banking Conduct and Culture, calling for sustained and comprehensive reform. The 80-page report was disappointing reading for those who thought that the banking system had learnt its lesson about ethical conduct in recent years. The message was clear: either the banking industry solves its own ethical problems or regulators will try to `help'.
Several reports and surveys on the implications of Fin Tech for banks were published - especially from the BBA. The central message was that banks in a `bricks and mortar’ mindset/technology were going to have to scramble to catch up with their customers demands for instant payments on their mobile phones. 23 million banking apps have been downloaded in the UK so far this year!
ESMA published four reports focused on how the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation framework has been functioning and providing input and recommendations to the European Commission’s EMIR Review. The strongest theme that emerged from all the comments was the issue of margin being posted in cash or bonds. For investors who might well be mainly is say equities, this is a major cost to using centrally-cleared derivatives. On the other side of the coin, the pressure remains for CCPs to demonstrate robust risk management. The ECB contributed to the debate by issuing a powerful statement that EMIR could not be used to force central banks to provide CCPs with liquidity on demand.