Ring-fencing — the detail

The 2007–09 financial crisis led the government to undertake a programme of structural reform of the UK banking system. A central element of this is the requirement for UK banks to ring-fence their retail activities (both personal and small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs) from wholesale and investment banking by protecting the provision of core banking services to retail and SME depositors.

Core banking services are defined as: facilities for accepting deposits or other payments; facilities for withdrawing money or making payments; and overdraft facilities.

The framework for ring-fencing was set out in the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013, which provides for the separation of core activities (deposit taking) that must be carried out by ring-fenced bodies (RFBs) from excluded activities (trading in investments), which RFBs are not permitted to do…

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