What’s In A Name?

This week’s ESMA & EBA report, “Principles for Benchmark-Setting Processes in the EU”, garnered headlines such as “EU plots to grab control of Libor from London”. Such sensationalism simultaneously leads to over-reaction and under-reaction. Libor is a known problem, but there are questions over other market indices for oil, steel, gold and other commodities. Surely five years into financial crises why shouldn’t the EU set out guidelines for robust indices upon which most markets depend? Yet I worry about state control and auditing of benchmarks. Some bankers claim they connived with regulators on Libor to look stronger than they were. Instead I would suggest a more ‘British’ approach – a published ISO or BSI standard on index governance and management, independently audited on quality, accuracy, timeliness and distribution in a competitive market. And the under-reaction? These financial reform proposals should be coming from London. If we’re losing our intellectual leadership perhaps we do deserve to lose the ‘L’ in Libor.

In CityAM 7 June 2013 – http://www.cityam.com/debate/should-london-be-concerned-about-eu-s-proposal-move-libor-oversight-paris