British finance minister Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Thursday evening announced a joint review by the UK Treasury, the Bank of England (BOE) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into the operation of key wholesale financial markets and a bid to raise standards of conduct in the financial system.
Osborne said in the annual set piece Mansion House speech to leaders of the financial community that there would be a "comprehensive review of standards in our fixed income, currency and commodity markets."
The Fair and Effective Markets Review will be chaired by the new BOE deputy governor and former deputy managing director of the IMF, Minouche Shafik, said Osborne.
Osborne said the Review would produce a report in a year's time, and some of its recommendations may require international agreement.
The Review would also consider feedback from a panel of market practitioners, chaired by Elizabeth Corley, chief executive of Allianz Global Investors, said Osborne.
Osborne also highlighted the growing importance of China to the prosperity of the financial sector in Britain.
He said, "Chinese bonds are being issued here, Chinese assets are being managed here, Chinese banks will be able to apply for branches here, a Chinese clearing bank is soon to be appointed here -- and next week, when the Chinese Premier visits, we will take the next big step forward in the economic partnership of our two great, historic trading nations."
Osborne announced that "in the next few weeks, subject to market conditions" for Britain would be the first western nation to issue a sovereign sukuk an Islamic bond.
Osborne also made an important announcement for domestic economics -- he extended the powers of the BOE to cap mortgages and to limit the size of mortgages in relation to household income in an attempt to cool down the market.
Britain's housing market is in buoyant form with some commentators warning of a bubble market which could damage the economic recovery if it burst.
Commenting on Osborne's plans, Mark Boleat, the policy chairman for the City of London, the authority covering the heart of the financial area of London, said, "Trust lies at the heart of every financial transaction so it is vital that markets are seen to be fair and transparent by all participants. Market abuse needs to be rooted out as recent allegations involving LIBOR and, if proven, the foreign exchange market risk damaging the reputation of London and the UK."
He added, "Effective regulation and high professional standards are a competitive advantage in this globally competitive industry so we will await the outcome of this joint review with considerable interest."