U.K. Business Secretary Vince Cable
is keen on separating retail from investment banking despite assurances from
the Treasury that the prospect of such a split hasn’t been concluded yet.
“The coalition agreement is
quite explicit … The purpose of this commission is to look at the separation
of retail and investment banking, that’s the terms of reference,” the
report cited Cable as telling a documentary on banking to be screened by UK
television’s Channel 4 on Monday.
Cable, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet
minister, “is thought to be distant” from the Conservative
Chancellor, George Osborne.
Cable was quoted as saying that
there was an obvious “direction of travel” towards separating retail
and investment banking.
He also suggested that the U.K. could act
unilaterally if there was no global agreement.
“How we do that, over what
time frame, whether you do that nationally or internationally, that kind of
issue we have to pursue. But that is the clear direction in which we are
going,” Cable said.
A newspaper cited sources as saying
that Osborne would make no decisions on banking until a banking commission put
out its report in the first half of next year.