Bank experts on standby to break up FSA

TWO of the Bank of England’s top brass are preparing themselves for a vastly increased workload if the Conservatives win the general election, it emerged at the weekend.

Paul Tucker, the Bank’s deputy governor for financial stability, and Andrew Bailey, its chief cashier and executive director for banking, are understood to have been put on high alert, ready to take on the arduous task of overseeing the regulatory transition period under a Tory government.

The pair are first in line to manage the transfer of supervisory powers from the City regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), to the Bank – a key proposal put forward by the Conservatives ahead of the election. The party wants to bring the current tripartite system of regulation under one umbrella by scrapping the FSA and handing over supervision of the banking system to the Bank, thereby tightening up on the sort of risky financial practices that heralded the onset of the crisis.

The Tories will also create a new watchdog to oversee consumer affairs such as mortgages and insurance.

Both Tucker and Bailey have been at the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street for over two decades. Tucker was once principal private secretary to governor Robin Leigh Pemberton, working his way up the ladder to his current position, in which he sits on the Monetary Policy Committee. He is also on the board of the FSA itself.

Bailey, who is also chairman and chief executive of Dunfermline Building Society Bridge Bank, joined the Bank in 1985 and is now head of its Special Resolution Unit and a member of the executive team.

The pair are likely to be assisted during the transition period by fellow Bank grandee Andy Haldane, the executive director for financial stability. Haldane, who is a prolific writer on the subject of domestic and international monetary and financial stability, previously set up and headed the Bank’s systemic risk assessment division for financial stability. He also formerly spent time on secondment to the International Monetary Fund.

Both the Conservative party and the Bank of England declined to comment.