Retail split may come early for an eager Lloyds

Tim Wallace
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LLOYDS could announce this week that it plans to accelerate the ring-fence separation of its retail banking arm from its investment banking operations, it was reported yesterday.

The bank already has fewer investment operations than the UK’s other major banks, which could allow it to split into two parts well ahead of the expected 2019 deadline set to be imposed by regulators.

Ring-fencing was proposed last year by the Independent Commission on Banking, chaired by Sir John Vickers.

The aim is to isolate banking activities that are considered vital to the economy from those that are not, keeping consumers’ and firms’ cash and services safe from potential losses in other areas of the bank.

Lloyds’ boss Antonio Horta-Osorio could announce the acceleration when he reveals the bank’s second quarter results on Thursday, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The bank refused to confirm or deny reports that Horta-Osorio will praise the ring-fencing regulations and explain the benefits of building a simple retail bank.

Lloyds last week agreed the sale of 632 branches to the Co-op, meeting European Commission demands for increased competition in the sector.