Bankers face ‘annual health check’ under reforms

Bankers face ‘annual health check’ under reforms

Mr Tyrie, along with former Chancellor Lord Lawson and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, pushed George Osborne to alter the legislation to take in many of the recommendations of the final report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS), which the Chancellor himself set up.

The PCBS had been chaired by Mr Tyrie and among its recommendations called for an overhaul of the approval system for senior bankers, tougher rules on proprietary trading, as well a tightening of the incoming ring-fencing rules to give regulators the power to break up banks that fail to comply with them.

Under the amended Bill, the Britain’s top banking regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, will be called upon to conduct an immediate 12-month review into the risks to the “safety and soundness” of financial groups resulting from proprietary trading, whereby banks seek to profit from trading using their own money.

“These are some very significant concessions and are likely to satisfy those who had been calling for the Bill to be amended,” said one political source.

The change to the approval regime envisaged by the annual reviews has been seen as particularly important in the light of the Co-op Bank scandal and the revelations about the private life and lack of professional qualifications of the troubled lender’s former chairman, the Reverend Paul Flowers.

Rev Flowers was approved to first sit on the board and then take the chairmanship of one of the country’s larger banks despite his professional experience amounting to working in a junior role at a bank more than 40 years ago.

The Government also tabled its own amendment to the Bill to include a specific provision for anti-money laundering compliance that will in future mean that senior bankers, as well as other staff, could be held personally to account for any breaches of the rules.

This amendment comes in the wake of revelations about serious breaches of money-laundering regulations at HSBC, which paid a $ 1.9bn fine in the US 12 months ago over accusations it had helped move money for drug gangs and terrorists.

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