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BARCLAYS PLC

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Bank of England sets out rules of engagement for Facebook's Libra

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10/09/2019 | 04:37am EDT
The Bank of England is seen in the financial district during rainy weather in London

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England set out the rules of engagement that Facebook's Libra crypto-currency and other new digital payments providers would have to meet before they can open for business in Britain.

The BoE's Financial Policy Committee also said Britain's banks and the rest of its financial system were fully prepared for a worst-case Brexit although there could be disruption, particularly for borrowers in the European Union.

"The terms of engagement for innovations such as Libra must be adopted in advance of any launch," the FPC said in a statement. "UK authorities should use their powers accordingly."

The principles include a requirement for the entire payment chain to show its operational and financial resilience, and provide enough information for regulators monitor payments.

"Libra has the potential to become a systematically important payment system," the BoE's Financial Policy Committee said.

So-called wallets for crypto-payments are akin to bank accounts that are subject to a welter of rules, such as deposit insurance, liquidity and capital requirements.

The European Union on Tuesday said it will propose a new law to cover crypto-asset projects like Libra, saying they posed a risk to the wider financial system.

Unlike the EU, the Bank of England's FPC said that for now, it will apply its principles by applying existing supervisory "tools", rather than resorting to new rules.

The FPC also said it will set out in December changes it would like to see in so-called open ended funds following a review by the Bank and the Financial Conduct Authority.

High-profile fund manager Neil Woodford had to suspend his flagship fund in June, trapping thousands of investors. The fund offered daily redemptions to customers but it ran out of cash because some of the assets could not be quickly sold.

Britain, however, may not be able to introduce all the fund rule changes itself as some will need backing from international regulators.

In its statement on Wednesday, the FPC signalled a possible crack down on banks that are slow to stop using the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, as a price reference in financial contracts.

Banks have been fined billions of dollars for trying to rig Libor and the FPC wants lenders to shift to using Sonia, an overnight sterling-denominated interest rate benchmark compiled by the central bank.

"There is no justification for firms continuing to increase their exposure to Libor," the FPC said.

The risk watchdog said it will consider further "potential policy and supervisory tools" during the fourth quarter to reduce the stock of legacy Libor contracts.

Sterling Libor is set to be phased out by the end of 2021.

(Reporting by Huw Jones and William Schomberg)

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BANCO SANTANDER, S.A. 0.64% 3.9205 End-of-day quote.-1.32%
BARCLAYS PLC 3.14% 169.38 Delayed Quote.9.13%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) -0.11% 0.86098 Delayed Quote.-3.83%
FACEBOOK 0.35% 189.55 Delayed Quote.44.60%
HSBC HOLDINGS PLC 1.19% 610.6 Delayed Quote.-6.69%
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP 2.26% 62.34 Delayed Quote.17.70%
THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP PLC 2.44% 235.2 Delayed Quote.6.00%
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Financials (GBP)
Sales 2019 21 281 M
EBIT 2019 7 263 M
Net income 2019 2 408 M
Debt 2019 -
Yield 2019 5,38%
P/E ratio 2019 12,1x
P/E ratio 2020 7,20x
Capi. / Sales2019 1,33x
Capi. / Sales2020 1,29x
Capitalization 28 354 M
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 24
Average target price 184,45  GBp
Last Close Price 164,26  GBp
Spread / Highest target 52,2%
Spread / Average Target 12,3%
Spread / Lowest Target -32,6%
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Managers
NameTitle
James Edward Staley Group Chief Executive Officer & Director
Taylor Wright Co-Head-US Equity & Managing Director
Nigel Paul Higgins Group Chairman
Paul Herbert Compton Group Chief Operating Officer
Tushar Morzaria Group Finance Director & Executive Director
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