Euro watchdog to exercise 'true power' over banks: chief

15th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The head of the European Union's new banking supervisory body fired a warning shot at banks, in an interview published in the Financial Times Tuesday, saying they would take a more pro-active role.

Andrea Enria, chairman of the European Banking Authority (EBA), warned banks the body would take a more active role in regulation, possibily even drawing powers away from national regulators in EU countries.

"I think now it has to be a little bit more top-down," Enria told the British broadsheet.

"The senior people here should engage in real policy discussions, take decisions and make things happen."

When he was secretary-general of the EBA's predecessor body, the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS), said Enria, he had warned national regulators to raise banks' liquidity levels and co-ordinate rules on capital.

"We could have set a benchmark for the global debate but we didn't have the tools. We didn't have the power," he told the paper.

Industry experts have predicted an uncertain future for national regulators.

"In five years, we'll be talking to the EBA and Brussels," one London-based executive at a global bank told the FT.

"The Financial Services Authority (Britain's regulator) will be an afterthought."

© 2011 AFP

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