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Posted 11 October 2012

Finance

EU: split risky trading from banks

The EU says banks should split risky trading from retail banking. Europe's biggest banks would be affected, should these changes be brought about.

A European Union advisory group says that Europe's banks should be split into separate legal entities, in order to protect ordinary retail banking from risky trading. The review was set up to look at whether banks should be structurally reformed to avoid another crisis. The group agreed that banks should separate certain high-risk banking activities from everyday banking. Banks likely to be affected include Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas.

The report's suggestions echo those put forward in a report into the UK banking sector by Sir John Vickers, and proposals in the US, both designed to avert further banking crises in these countries.

The EU's report also looked at the risks of lending on properties, and recommends it should be underpinned with larger capital reserves. It also examined ways of spreading the risk burden of a collapsed bank to a wider group, so that bondholders, as well as shareholders and the state, would take some of the losses in future. It suggested that bankers should accept such a bond, the value of which would fall if risky trades or lending lost money, as part of their bonus.

The report also says banks should have higher capital "buffers" to protect against future banking crises.