Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Submission on New Model for Retail Finance

Over on The Fine Print, I've set out both the initial summary and my full submission to the Red Tape Challenge and the BIS Taskforce on Non-bank Finance. I'm very grateful to the colleagues who contributed, as mentioned in the longer document.

Some might say that the alternative finance market is small beer at this point, and it's not worth accommodating them in the regulatory framework. But it's unrealistic to expect alternative business models to thrive amidst the dominance of the banks and while the entire financial system is hard-wired to suit them and other traditional investment vehicles (see the series of articles by Vince Heaney, David Potter and Adriana Nilsson in February's Financial World).

Others might also say that we should wait until the 'winning' business models emerge before figuring out what regulation may need to change. Yet picking winning business ideas is impossible, as Peter Urwin explains in "Self-employment, Small Firms and Enterprise". He has found that, while "entrepreneurship is crucial for economic growth... we have no idea where it will come from - not even in the most general terms."

As a result, the best that we - and government - can do is to ensure "a climate in which enterpreneurship can thrive".

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