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Britain's FSA Asks Lawmakers for More Enforcement Powers

The U.K. financial watchdog asked lawmakers for more enforcement powers, including an extension of the statute of limitations on probes and the ability to temporarily ban senior managers from their jobs while they are under investigation.

The three-year limit on investigations can make pursuing cases “more difficult,” the Financial Services Authority said in a written submission the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards made public on a government website today. The regulator also requested the ability to “remove incumbent senior managers where they continue to pose a risk” to an investigation.

The FSA is aware it was seeking “a significant extension to our current powers,” according to the statement, and “appropriate safeguards would need to be considered.”

U.K. lawmakers are reviewing professional standards in the banking industry after Barclays, the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets, was fined 290 million pounds ($470.8 million) in June for its role in rigging the London interbank offered rate, known as Libor, for profit. Martin Wheatley, the U.K’s chief markets regulator, is scheduled to publish a report on a regulatory overhaul of Libor on Sept. 28.

The FSA also asked for powers to review the conduct of lower-ranking financial employees who don’t otherwise need FSA approval.

“A banking sector which functions well for consumers and the economy as a whole cannot be achieved unless employees below the level of senior management also act with honesty and integrity,” the agency said.

The regulator will be split into the Prudential Regulation Authority, which will become a unit of the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority, in 2013.

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