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Financial think tank calls on Britain to bolster global regulatory role

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Financial think tank calls on Britain to bolster global regulatory role
FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags opposite the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo   -   Copyright  Henry Nicholls(Reuters)
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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will need a stronger voice in post-Brexit global financial rulemaking as the United States increasingly calls international standards into question, industry officials said on Tuesday.

Since the financial crisis a decade ago the EU and United States have been instrumental in shaping a welter of global standards for markets and banks. Britain could fight from within as an EU member, but its departure from the bloc next March will leave the country without a say on how rules are set in a major export market for the City of London.

Enthusiasm for global rules may also be waning as the United States and Europe tailor regulations to their own ends, industry officials told an event held by the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG), an independent think tank.

“Now we are almost getting into the area of discussing whether to have international rules, both in the United States and certainly here in Europe,” said Antony Manchester, of asset manager BlackRock.

Unless global rules can also cater for domestic needs, there is a danger regulations could be rolled back, fragmenting markets and bumping up costs for consumers and businesses, Manchester said.

Simon Jowers, director of government affairs at Swiss bank UBS, said that international regulators could be more transparent earlier on in rulemaking to avoid the need for countries to make “local” tweaks later on.

The IRSG, backed by TheCityUK lobby group and the City of London financial district, published a report that called on the British government, regulators and the financial sector to strengthen relations with global standard setters.

“The UK should play a leading role in shaping the global regulatory architecture,” the report said, adding that industry engagement has previously been “partial and disjointed”.

International standard setters also need to be more transparent, accessible and accountable to secure continued backing from governments for global rules, it said.

Global regulators were behaving like “high priests offering universal truths from temples”, said Hugh Savill, director of regulation at the Association of British Insurers.

The Financial Stability Board, which coordinates global financial rules for the Group of 20 Economies (G20), pledged in March to be more open, disciplined and efficient.

It has also said that the era of frantic rulemaking is over and that its focus is now on making existing rules work properly.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by David Goodman)

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