In the aftermath of the financial crisis regulators are moving ahead with the separation of the high street and investment operations of banks. Ringfencing of the retail operations of banks is an alternative to forcing complete de-mergers. Supporters of ringfencing argue that the financial system’s stability will increase whilst banks will be able to retain some of the diversification benefits offered by the existence of retail and investment franchises under the same corporate umbrella. But is ringfencing a sustainable solution? This article examines the concept of ringfencing as pioneered in the UK, issues around its implementation and whether it is likely to achieve what it is designed for.
Ringfencing of banks: A permanent cure or a sticking plaster?