Banks were created to work for and on behalf of their customers, and by staying true to that purpose, they earned their customers’ trust that they placed the financial interests of consumers at the centre of their operations. Over time, and partly due to financial crises, that trust has been eroded, and only a root-and-branch reform will recreate the societal purpose on which ethical banking was founded.
All over the world, regulations have been implemented to protect economies, especially following the major recession 10 years ago. But unfortunately they have not always been executed in concert, leading to costly regulatory fragmentation. Banks have been particularly hard hit by the costs of compliance to misaligned regulation, with resources being drained away from more productive areas. But there are ways to mend these divergences, starting with cooperation between regulators.
Global growth is strong, but policymakers need to navigate uncharted waters and enact complex policy changes to keep the world economy on an even keel. The main risk lies not in economic conditions, but in economic policy debates too often distorted by partisanship. We have a chance to leverage new technologies to lift living standards on a sustainable basis—but we need a more level-headed discussion to chart the path forward.
Brexit negotiations continue, but little headway has been made regarding the final terms of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU).
The UK’s upcoming divorce from the EU will not come without costs, and no matter what the eventual scenario, those costs will be substantial and far-reaching, on both sides of the fence. UK banks already have a lot on their plates in the form of new-regulation compliance, but it is now or never to prepare for EU-27 inclusion after March 2019.
On November 21, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned, ending his 37-year rule of the southern African nation. The resignation followed an intervention by the country’s military after Mugabe sacked his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa
Financial institutions in the UK are waking up to the inevitability of Brexit, and thus they are beginning to budget for contingency plans, especially after the Bank of England requested that banks submit their plans for a hard exit. Planning ahead now is certainly prudent, as not doing so is guaranteed to leave banks struggling to cope with new regulations and changing market conditions.
Although the fine details have yet to be ironed out, there is no doubt that Brexit will have significant and long-lasting effects on financial-services institutions and businesses in the UK and the EU27. A hard-Brexit is the most jarring scenario, so what are the likely costs of a hard landing after all the negotiations are completed and the dust settles?
Like any divorce, Brexit is going to get complicated—even more so because of the variety of contradictory opinions about how it should be handled. There are four main scenarios, ranging from “smooth” and “transitional” to “cliff-edge” and “chaotic”. Prime Minister Theresa May is rooting for a “hard Brexit”, but many others are hoping for a much softer landing.
Islamic finance is gaining momentum, not only in Islamic countries but also in Western countries such as the UK—and not only among Muslims. Brexit is guaranteed to affect Islamic banking’s continuing development in the UK, but will the EU divorce be an advantage or disadvantage for the relatively nascent Sharia-compliant industry? Much will depend on how the negotiations play out.