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UK's Osborne says no plans to loosen banks' ring-fence

[LONDON] British finance minister George Osborne said on Tuesday that he did not intend to allow a looser implementation of rules separating British banks' retail and investment banking operations.

Mr Osborne's commitment to tough banking regulation has been questioned since he decided last week not to renew the contract of the chief executive of the country's Financial Conduct Authority, Martin Wheatley.

Asked by a member of parliament about a media report that finance ministry officials were preparing to relax incoming ring-fencing rules, Mr Osborne said he was unaware of this.

"That's not the case. These are decisions now for the regulators. You know (Bank of England Governor) Mark Carney, you know (BoE Deputy Governor) Andrew Bailey. These are not people who would welcome being leant upon by me," he said.

"Broadly speaking we should let a lot of this banking regulation settle down. I would include the ring-fencing legislation."