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April 8, 2014

Regulators in dock as mood on banking turns full circle

“Bob Diamond was three years ahead of his time. When the former head of Barclays told a parliamentary committee in January 2011 that the “period of remorse and apology . . . needs to be over”, he caused a stink. Politicians lambasted his arrogance, commentators said he was out of touch and, within 18 months, he had been hounded out of his job by regulators.

“But if there is one message that has emerged over the past week – amid the furore over the Financial Conduct Authority’s botched announcement of a life insurance inquiry – it is this: the UK government, and perhaps public opinion, appear to have turned a corner. The time for bankers’ remorse over the financial crisis might really be over this time.

“So much so, in fact, that it is the regulators themselves in the dock these days. The FCA has been brutally attacked over the insurance affair, with George Osborne – the UK chancellor who created the organisation – expressing his “profound concern” over its impact on the London market and criticising it as an “egregious error”.

“Even a year ago, when the FCA was born out of the ashes of the defunct Financial Services Authority, the post-crisis view – that financiers brought the City into disrepute – held good. Now, it is the regulator that has been accused of the same crime.”

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Read full Financial Times article here.

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