Yesterday, the United Kingdom’s Commercial Secretary to the Treasury launched a consultation on a new special-resolution regime, Special administration regime for investment firms, to strengthen the government’s ability to handle future insolvencies of failing investment banks to minimize cost and disruption of the overall national financial system. The proposed regime acknowledges the importance of investment firms in providing market liquidity, and the substantial strain on financial stability following a failure of an investment firm, such as occurred when Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. filed bankruptcy. Treasury worked with industry experts, the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority to develop the regime, which focuses on the return of client assets, engagement with market infrastructure bodies and the authorities, and maximizing returns to creditors.

Treasury published the initial paper on this topic, Developing effective resolution arrangements for investment banks, in May 2009, followed by a consultation paper, Establishing resolution arrangements for investment banks, in December 2009.