Labour to Demand U.K. Bankers Are Licensed Like Doctors

Britain’s opposition Labour Party is seeking legislation to license bankers so that they are subjected to similar checks as lawyers or doctors.

Labour will propose amendments to the Financial Service (Banking Reform) Bill that will be debated in the House of Commons in London later today. It will also press for greater immunity for whistle-blowers who reveal bad behavior in the industry, the creation of a Financial Crime Unit in the Serious Fraud Office, and greater protection for consumers who buy gift vouchers when companies become insolvent.

“A proper licensing system would ensure that a higher standard of qualification, training, competence -- and behavior -- could be applied.” Chris Leslie, who speaks for the party on Treasury affairs, said in an e-mailed statement. “It would also ensure that there could be proper sanctions imposed if licenses are breached.”

Lawmakers have sought to strengthen the bill during its passage through Parliament as they seek credit from voters for creating a safer banking system. Last month, a parliamentary commission scrutinizing the bill demanded for a second time that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne toughen the legislation, which is intended to create firewalls between bank’s retail and investment arms.

Labour is seeking to extend protection under the 1996 Employment Rights Act to workers who report a financial crime at their workplace. The party said the money raised from the 25 percent increase in fines imposed on bankers since 2010 should be used to fund the financial crime unit at the SFO.

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