Brexit must not mean deregulation for banks - UK watchdog

Brexit must not mean deregulation for banks - UK watchdog
The logo of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is seen at the agency's headquarters in the Canary Wharf business district of London April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren -
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's departure from the European Union next year should not be seen as triggering a "race to the bottom" in regulatory standards, a top UK regulator said on Monday.

Backers of Brexit say Britain should ditch some EU financial rules, such as caps on banker bonuses, in order to keep the City of London competitive as a global financial centre.

"The FCA does not see the UK's withdrawal from the European Union as an opportunity to join a race to the bottom in regulatory standards – quite the contrary," Charles Randell, chair of the Financial Conduct Authority, told an industry event.

Some UK lawmakers have said the FCA and its sister regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority at the Bank of England, should have a formal objective of maintaining competitiveness, meaning new financial rules must not be overly burdensome.

Randell said this could imply some very difficult trade-offs with its existing objectives.

"How much loss of competition should we tolerate to ensure that a sector is competitive? How much loss of consumer protection? How much loss of market integrity?"

"I believe that if we deliver our existing statutory objectives of making our markets work well, consumer protection, competition and market integrity, then there should be nothing to stop the firms we regulate from making money and growing in global markets."

(Reporting by Huw Jones, Editing by William Maclean)

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