Ownership and control of UK banks - speech by the Governor

Quarterly Bulletin 1987 Q4
Published on 01 December 1987

The Governor outlines the Bank's approach, under the extended powers provided by the new Banking Act, to the ownership and control of banks in the United Kingdom. In particular, he says:

  • In interpreting the 'fit and proper' criterion under the Act, the Bank 'should not hesitate to use its discretion, commonsense and experience in judging when the prospective controller of a bank may be outside the bounds of acceptability: anything in the character or business of a prospective controller that may threaten confidence must concern us.'
  • 'We do not look favourably on acquisitions of stakes designed to put banks 'into play'. Neither do we welcome bids whose purpose is ... that a bank may be sold or broken up in ways that may be detrimental to depositors' interests.'
  • 'I would need some persuading before an industrial or commercial company is allowed to take control of a bank: the closer the bank to the heart of the financial system, the greater my doubts are likely to be.'
  • 'As a general rule we would not wish to stand in the way ... of overseas participation in a British bank or financial institution. But it runs counter to commonsense to argue that the openness of the London market must be carried to the point where control of the core of our financial system may pass into the hands of institutions whose business aims and national interests lie elsewhere.'

PDFOwnership and control of UK banks - speech by the Governor

Other Quarterly Bulletin 1987 Q4 articles

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