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Self-regulation comes to an end for the UK banking sector

In what is seen by many as a serious threat to the self regulatory framework of the UK financial sector, the government has today introduced a bill to Parliament which will see banks fined and potentially have their assets frozen if they mistreat their customers. Quite what is meant by "mistreating their customers" remains to be seen but the UK government has certainly taken on more of a hardball approach to future regulatory issues.

The move will see a number of existing voluntary banking codes introduced into the statute book and recognised in law. This will totally change the landscape of the current UK financial sector and place many businesses under further pressure from the regulators. In many ways this is seen as payback for an apparent failure to recognise the terms of the recent rescue package where banks had apparently agreed to assist consumers and businesses through these troubled times.

There is some suggestion that the fines and potential freezing of assets could be a legal minefield and open to challenge, but at this moment in time both parties appear happy to let the situation settle. Round one to the government, but the fight goes on!

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