The draft UK legislation implementing the Independent Commission on Banking's Final Report on the reform of the banking sector (the so-called "Vickers Review") was laid before Parliament in February 2013 and is currently subject to heavy debate in the House of Commons. The Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill (2012-13) will implement the key Vickers recommendations relating to the separation of retail from investment banking (so-called 'ring-fencing'), and other structural reforms to the UK banking sector including strengthening depositor preference rules, promoting competition and giving regulators more power to ensure that banks are banks are better able to absorb losses during a crisis by requiring them to issue and hold certain amounts of 'bail-in-able' capital. This legislation represents the second of the UK Government's 'two pillars' of financial sector reform (the first is the Financial Services Act 2012 which takes effect on 1 April 2013 - see above) but is somewhat further behind in its development, and is not expected to enter into force until 2015. Primarily an enabling Bill, its detailed provisions will be set out separately in secondary legislation. Among the important aspects of that secondary legislation will be provisions that are expected to allow banks (in accordance with the original Vickers recommendations) to originate and retain portions of 'own-label' securitisations within a ring-fenced entity, such that the securitisation of (say) retail exposures, would not breach the ring-fence.

In the meantime, the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) has published a Draft Report which calls on the European Commission to effect a series of structural and other reforms within the EU banking system, including the preparation of a legislative proposal for the mandatory separation of banks' retail and investment activities. Whilst this is merely a Report, it does however show that the rest of Europe may ultimately follow the UK in effecting the separation of retail from wholesale banking in future.

Useful links:

Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill (2012-13)

ECON Draft Report