Monday, June 16, 2008


Alastair Darling will use this Wednesday's Mansion House speech to make clear that Britain's framework for tackling economic and financial stability will have to change to meet the challenges posed by globalisation.

Darling will say that while the current tripartite framework (created by Gordon Brown) is essentially sound, there are ways in which it can be improved.

He wants to strengthen the Bank of England's role in promoting financial stability, by bringing in greater expertise and reforming the central bank's governance structure.

He also wants to give the Bank more powers to help reduce the likelihood of a bank or other financial institutions running into trouble, and wants greater international cooperation between regulators.

This is all very well. However, it ignores the fundamental failing of the tripartite system; namely that there is no one body actually in charge of it. It is this structural weakness that caused the Northern Rock fiasco to drag on much longer than it should have done, and leaves the financial system open to more failures and abuse.

Until one of the member bodies (FSA, Bank of England or Treasury) of the tripartite system is given overall authority over the others, nothing much will change.

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