THE BLOG

Banking Reform - Where Next?

19/06/2013 16:50 BST | Updated 19/08/2013 10:12 BST

The Banking Commission's report Changing Banking for Good has finally arrived.

Was it a surprise? Given how much of its content has been trailed in the media for the last 10 days, there wasn't perhaps much new left for us to read.

The extent of the leaking, and the constantly shifting launch date gives some indication of the level of internal debate within the commission before its eventual publication. But none of that should detract from the breadth and ambition of this report - the 571 pages of which cover topics well beyond those within the initial commission remit, including the future of RBS.

The most immediate question, of course, is: how much of the report will be implemented? The sweeping nature of the proposals, across criminal sanctions, accountability, remuneration, competition, governance and regulation means that even doing half of it would be a serious legislative undertaking.

The extent of its adoption therefore depends largely on three matters: first, how many of the recommendations the government adopts as policy; secondly, how many amendments can be tabled to the Banking Reform Bill by Commission members and their supporters; and, thirdly, how much of this finds its way into party manifestos.

This final point raises some interesting political possibilities; certain aspects of the report, if not adopted by the coalition before the election, could be used by the parties to differentiate themselves from each other in the campaign.

It is also worth noting that the ambition of the report means that its legislative digestibility could be an issue. Moreover, the debate within the Commission is just a preview of the fierce political, media and public debate to come as the Banking Reform Bill works its way through Parliament. In short, the report is likely to cast a shadow way beyond the next few weeks and months.

Over to you Chancellor.