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French Bank Law to Be More Pragmatic Than Liikanen Plan

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the banking law he will present this month will be “more pragmatic” than proposals for the euro area set out by a group led by Bank of Finland Governor Erkki Liikanen.

“We want something more practical to distinguish between speculation and what’s useful for the economy,” Moscovici told a committee of the European Parliament in Brussels today. “We have a strong banking industry, with universal banks that provide 4,000 jobs. We haven’t decided to break this model.”

Under the French plan, speculation through high-frequency trading and on agricultural-commodities derivatives would be banned. The bill seeks to prohibit “pure proprietary trading that allows” banks “to speculate with their balance sheets, unless they are very strictly ring-fenced,” Moscovici said last month.

Liikanen’s Oct. 2 report recommended a “legal separation of certain particularly risky financial activities from deposit-taking banks within the banking group.”

The European Union report found that Paris-based BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA, together with Barclays Plc of London, Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc of Edinburgh had the highest proportion of trading assets, accounting for more than 30 percent of total assets.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Deen in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at

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