Banking reorganisation in a brave new world

By Wendy Benjamin

The banking world has changed. On 1 April 2013 the UK’s Financial Services Authority was split into three separate entities: the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Policy Committee. UK banks are still assessing this new ‘three-for-one’ regulatory regime and a host of new financial services regulations. Liquidity and capital adequacy requirements remain high on the agenda. This may lead to strategic reorganisations of banking groups, including offshore subsidiaries and branches.

Until recently the options available for banking reorganisations were limited in Jersey — historically the most favoured option being the use of private laws, however, these were time consuming and expensive. So, in 2008 the Banking Business (Jersey) Law 1991 (Banking Law) was amended to allow Jersey banking businesses (technically a deposit-taking business) to be transferred from one bank to another by means of a court-sanctioned scheme. Transfers under the Banking Law are meant to be relatively quick and cost effective — perhaps involving about half the time and cost of a private law.

Despite that, the Banking Law has not proved to be the most popular of laws. It has been used only once so far to effect the transfer of the accounts of the Jersey branch of Bank of Scotland to Lloyds TSB in 2011. But its use is bound to increase in the next year or so…

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