Brussels to call for tougher rules on banks as storm roars on
The European Union's executive body is to demand that banks keep more of their riskiest securities on their own books and submit to international supervision on Wednesday as the global financial storm showed no signs of abating, reported dpa. In a long-awaited move, EU Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy is set to demand that banks which sell high-risk debts, such as mortgages, as assets should keep at least 5 per cent of those assets on their own books, officials said. He is also expected to call on banks to set aside a proportion of their capital as a safety net against the collapse of other banks with which they have financial ties.
Groups of international supervisors should also be set up to oversee multinational banks such as the Dutch-Belgian giant Fortis, which the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg partly nationalized at the weekend to stave off its collapse.
The supervisors would be drawn from the regulator of each EU state where the bank operates and would also be tasked with working out a quick solution if it runs into serious difficulties. Officials hope that the creation of such an international structure would in future allow rapid regulatory intervention in times of crisis such as the one currently affecting the global financial markets. But the idea that the supervisor from the bank's home country should have more power to oversee the activities of its foreign subsidiaries could meet with opposition from EU states keen to preserve the rights of their national regulators.
McCreevy's proposals would have to be approved by member states and the European Parliament.